Mod: This week's revelations about Paul Manafort having supplied Trump internal campaign polling data to a Russian intelligence operative continue to raise some interesting questions. Certainly the "collusion" (I prefer the term treason myself) issue is first and foremost amongst them. The suspicion now being that Manafort became Trump's campaign head at Russian insistence because, after all, they'd already been comfortably doing some monkey business together for decades. Which puts the following 2017 Newsweek article about the process leading to the selection of Mike Pence as Trump's VP into an interesting new light. Elect a clown, expect a circus.
Paul Manafort, who was hit Monday with 12 counts tied to alleged financial schemes, pushed for Pence to become Trump's running mate and even managed to talk Trump out of his doubts. As the Trump administration now works to distance itself from Manafort, his Pence pick stands among the best evidence of his impact as Trump's short-lived campaign manager.
Before Trump formally announced Pence as his vice presidential candidate, it was Manafort who made sure it happened, The New York Times reported last year.
CBS News reported that Pence was Manafort's "first choice" and that Manafort even lied about mechanical problems on Trump's plane to make the soon-to-be GOP nominee stay an extra day in Indiana to get to know Pence. In a phone call, Manafort assured Trump that Pence was the right choice and made a case that won over the real estate tycoon.
The decision came during the three months Manafort served as Trump's campaign manager, after advising him earlier in the year. Just a month after the Pence pick, Manafort was out, with reports about his foreign finances and government lobbying creating a cloud around the campaign.
On Monday, Manafort surrendered to the FBI on charges that included conspiracy against the United States, after Mueller named him and his associate Rick Gates in the first indictment from the probe into the Trump campaign's suspected Russia ties.
Mod: Now juxtapose the above with an article that appeared earlier this week.
The revelation came in a filing by Manafort’s legal team in response to allegations by prosecutors in November that he breached his plea deal in the D.C. case by lying to investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Several paragraphs of that filing were redacted, but a Guardian reporter quickly realized Manafort’s team redacted the document in a way that can be easily reversed:
One of the improperly redacted sections revealed that Manafort shared 2016 presidential election polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime business associate of Manafort’s. Kilimnik is a Russian-Ukrainian businessman and political operative, and prosecutors have said in U.S. court he has ties to Russian intelligence.