Senior Democratic lawmakers called on Wednesday for further investigation into a revelation that in 2016 Donald Trump's then-presidential election campaign chairman gave polling data to a man USA prosecutors have linked to Russian intelligence. Prosecutors say Manafort breached their plea agreement by lying, but defense lawyers argued that any misstatements were simple mistakes made by a man coping with illness, exhaustion and extensive questioning from investigators.
"No I didn't know anything about it", Trump said in response to a question from a reporter as he departed the White House en route to Texas, where he is visiting the U.S. -Mexico border. However, Manafort wrote in one August 2016 email to his accountant that he expected a payment of $2.4 million in November 2016 for work he did in Ukraine, according to trial documents.
Manafort's lawyers maintain that all of their client's misstatements to Mueller "were not intentional" and happened because he was poorly prepared for his meetings with the special counsel, which started days before he pleaded guilty and then began in earnest the day after his September 14 plea hearing. Manafort has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in Washington and faces sentencing in a separate case in Virginia.
The Manafort attorneys told the judge that their client's missteps came at a time when he'd been held for months in solitary confinement in an Alexandria, Va., jail, a stay that they said had "taken a toll on his physical and mental health" and led to "depression and anxiety".
Manafort provided the data to Konstantin Kilimnik, who is believed to have ties to Russian intelligence.
Prosecutors alleged that Manafort lied about providing Kilimnik with the polling data. What is new is that Mueller thinks that Manafort is still lying about it. But Akhmetov's denial leaves open the possibility that the campaign data made its way to others in Ukraine or Russian Federation.
The filing says that a May 26, 2018, text message exchange with Manafort involved an unidentified "third-party" who was asking permission to name-drop Manafort if the person met with Trump.
Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has been circling Lyovochkin and Akhmetov's dealings with Manafort for a while, as they were both key, generous backers of Manafort's Ukrainian lobbying work, prosecutors said at Manafort's financial fraud trial last summer.
To read the complete filing, see here.