When Did the Treasury Discover Kilimnik Giving Trump Campaign Info to Russian Intel?
The Treasury Department announced a slew of new economic sanctions against the Putin regime and many of its individual enablers – among them Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian intelligence agent who worked with ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
From a policy perspective, the most interesting sanctions may be the ban on American financial institutions buying Russian sovereign debt in the primary market. The most important piece of news, however, came from the announcement of a reward for information leading to Kilimnik’s arrest.
During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy.
That would be information directly given to him by Manafort – as described in the Mueller report.
Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the state of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s plan to win the election. That briefing encompassed the Campaign’s messaging and its internal polling data. According to Gates, it also included discussion of “battleground” states, which refer explicitly to “battleground” states, which Manafort identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. (from page 129)
Manafort instructed Rick Gates, his deputy on the Campaign and a longtime employee, to provide Kilimnik with updates on the Trump Campaign—including internal polling data, although Manafort claims not to recall that specific instruction. Manafort expected Kilimnik to share that information with others in Ukraine and with Deripaska. Gates periodically sent such polling data to Kilimnik during the campaign. (from page 139)
So why am I bringing up the Mueller report after two years? Because Mueller didn’t know Kilimnik directly shared that information with Russian intelligence. Mueller couldn’t get around Manafort’s lies to get to that truth.
Because of questions about Manafort’s credibility and our limited ability to gather evidence on what happened to the polling data after it was sent to Kilimnik, the Office could not assess what Kilimnik (or others he may have given it to) did with it. (page 131)
Today’s Treasury Department release is the first official confirmation of the Trump campaign having a conduit to official Russian intelligence services. While many of us suspected this was the case, all we had were suspicions until today.
There are numerous questions that need answering due to this, but first and foremost is the matter of when the Treasury found out. Did Yellen’s crew managed to find this after less than three months in office? Or was it actually discovered by Trump’s Treasury Department? If so, we need to know who in Trump’s Treasury Department knew about it – right up to Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
Absent new information, there is strong reason to believe the Trump Administration covered up how its campaign fed information to Russian intelligence.
The American people need to know if this actually happened – and then hold everyone who knew accountable for it, including the former president himself if he knew.