Today the Treasury Department announced sweeping sanctions against the Russian government and individuals “who attempted to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the direction of the leadership of the Russian Government.”  While the sanctions focused on the 2020 election, buried within the Treasury Department announcement is a blockbuster statement establishing Trump Campaign collusion with Russian Intelligence Services in the 2016 election.  

Unsurprisingly, it involves Paul Manafort.  The Mueller Report established that Manafort secretly shared confidential polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian intelligence operative.  The Treasury Department announcement today went further, making clear that this information was then given to Russian Intelligence services which used it to interfere in America’s 2016 Presidential election.  

During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy. Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

By contrast, The Mueller Report stated that it could not determine Manafort’s purpose in sharing the data because it could not determine what Kilimnik did with the data after Manafort gave it to him.

could not reliably determine Manafort’s purpose in sharing internal polling data with Kilimnik during the campaign period . . . 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. 

  Apparently United States intelligence services now know what Kilimnik did with the data. He turned it right over to his Russian Intelligence Service masters.  The Trump Campaign and Russian Intelligence Services engaged in a joint enterprise towards their mutual goal of electing Donald Trump President.

One reason Mueller remained in the dark over this question is because it is one of the things Manafort lied to the investigation about, lies which led to the judge determining Manafort had violated his plea agreement.  Manafort also used encrypted communications with the Russians and then did not cooperate to allow Mueller to decrypt what was said. In the meantime, when asked what he knew Trump only vaguely said he didn’t didn’t remember. How convenient.

The Office reviewed numerous Manafort email and text communications, and asked President Trump about the plan in written questions . . . The Office was not, however, able to gain access to all of Manafort electronic communications (in some instances , messages were sent using encryption applications) . . . Manafort made several false statements during debriefings. Based on that conduct, the Office determined that Manafort had breached his plea agreement and could not be a cooperating witness . . . According to the President’s written answers, he does not remember Manafort communicating to him any particular positions that Ukraine or Russia would want the United States to support.

This is the same Manafort that Trump pardoned.  Put simply, Manafort covered up the President’s crimes and the President pardoned him for it.  

There was no “collusion hoax.”  It was real.  And the Presidential pardon power was used to conceal the reality.

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