The reporting on Wednesday that a federal judge has determined Paul Manafort deliberately lied to Robert Mueller‘s team is just the latest piece of evidence in the growing collusion case against the Trump campaign.
As PoliticusUSA reported via Reuters, “Judge Amy Berman Jackson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found there was a ‘preponderance’ of evidence that Manafort lied on three different topics, including his communications with his former business partner Konstantin Kilimnik.”
Manafort’s relationship with Kilimnik, a Russian political operative, has been under intense scrutiny in recent days.
According to The Washington Post, Manafort and former Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates met secretly with Kilimnik in New York in August 2016 to discuss a peace proposal for Ukraine, a critical piece of achieving Russia‘s ultimate goal of lifting economic sanctions.
As David Corn of Mother Jones told Chris Matthews on Wednesday, “This is the collusion. I mean we’ve had examples of public collusion. This is private collusion.”
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) February 14, 2019
This is the collusion. I mean we’ve had examples of public collusion. This is private collusion. … A few days before the meeting, Kilimnik sent Manafort an email saying our friend wants to talk to you. He has messages for about the future of his country. This is regarded as a reference to Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch very close to Putin. So Manafort says fine, I’ll see you Tuesday, fly in and I’ll meet you. So he was responding to a request basically to meet with an emissary of Oleg Deripaska. … Why does he lie to Mueller and the others? … This is what Manafort says. You know, we talked about this plan to bring peace in the Ukraine that could lead to the lifting of sanctions. But he tells Mueller we didn’t talk about it again after that meeting. One of the lies that he’s been charged with here, or found to have lied, is that he continued to work on that plan with Kilimnik through the election, after the election, into 2018. So here was Manafort trying to work on a pro Russia initiative while he knew Russia was trying to help Trump. So if it is not an explicit quid pro quo, you have to believe there’s a lot of nodding and winking going in that meeting and afterward.
The Trump campaign colluded with Russia
Collusion with Russia during and after the 2016 campaign is no longer a question. It didn’t just happen, but it involved some of the highest-ranking officials on Trump‘s team up to and including the president himself.
As David Corn said on Wednesday, “[Trump] was colluding with the Russian disinformation campaign to deny [the Russia attack] was happening.”
“He took an oath to defend this country and he has not defended it against this attack from Russia and, in fact, he helped the attack occur by denying it was happening. And now we have this collusion … between his campaign chairman and an emissary of one of Putin‘s closest oligarchs,” Corn added.
Meanwhile, Trump continues to gloat over GOP Sen. Richard Burr’s assertion that the Senate Intelligence committee has found no direct evidence of collusion with Russia.
But as Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell said on Thursday, “We have very good circumstantial evidence that the Trump team, the family, the businesses were eager to work and were working with the Russians while the Russians were helping them.”
“In a court of law, that’s enough,” the Democratic congressman said.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.