President Trump on Thursday denied knowing that his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared polling data with a Russian associate linked to Kremlin intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“I didn’t know anything about that,” Trump told reporters Thursday morning before departing on a trip to the U.S. southern border.
A bungled court filing earlier this week revealed that special counsel Robert Mueller has accused Manafort of sharing polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national and former business associate of Manafort who is suspected to have ties to the GRU, Moscow’s military intelligence agency.
Trump has diminished Manafort’s case as having nothing to do with him or his campaign, but the revelations have raised fresh questions about whether the campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 election. Trump has also denied that the campaign colluded with Russia and consistently attacked Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt.”
Manafort was viewed as a significant cooperating witness for Mueller as he investigates whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to interfere in the election. But his plea deal collapsed dramatically in November and he is expected to be sentenced in D.C. in March.
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