On Tuesday, former Trump campaign Paul Manafort’s attorneys had a major screw up and revealed in a public court filing that he shared the Donald Trump campaign’s internal polling with Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik during the election, and then lied about it to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But this particular detail is an admission that the Trump campaign and Russian hackers conspired to outright rig the vote totals. Yes, you read that right.
Just days after Donald Trump was shockingly named the winner in 2016, it was widely reported that Paul Manafort had told Trump to go campaign in Michigan and Wisconsin in the final days of the campaign. At the time, it was already known that Manafort was on the payroll of a Russian oligarch. In fact, Manafort had already been gone from the campaign for four months because of his Russia scandal.
So if Manafort was telling Trump to make a weird last minute move like running to Michigan and Wisconsin, it had to have been because the Kremlin told Manafort to tell Trump to do it. The only reason the Kremlin would do this is if its hackers had already rigged those two states in Trump’s favor, and it wanted him visible there, so people would be less shocked when he “won” those two states.
A CNN panel on Wednesday dissected the new revelations about Manafort giving internal Trump campaign polling data to Kilimnik.
Journalist Garrett Graff started the discussion by marveling at how Manafort’s attorneys managed to accidentally reveal the new information about their client because they failed to properly redact their court filing.
“Paul Manafort remains unable to actually figure out how technology works,” he said. “He’s been tripped up by Microsoft Word track changes, he’s been tripped up by backing his encrypted texts up to the cloud, and now he can’t copy and paste correctly.”
Graff said that the sharing of polling data with Kilimnik was suspicious because Manafort could have just sent him data from websites like FiveThirtyEight if he wanted to help Kilimnik keep track of the campaign.
“The fact that he’s flying to Madrid to have a private conversation with someone involved with Russian intelligence, it doesn’t get much more of a blinking red light than that,” he said.
Panelist David Gregory, meanwhile, said that Manafort’s actions show that the Trump campaign was more than willing to collude with Russian intelligence agencies to help them win the 2016 election.
“This team was open for business to deal with the Russians,” he said. “Whether it was opposition research, whether it was sharing information about the campaign, whether it was coordinating on policy toward Crimea and Ukraine.”
Earlier this year the Senate Intelligence Committee quietly released a bipartisan report confirming that Russian hackers penetrated the voter registration databases in key swing states, allowing them to delete voter registrations. This was how Russia “rigged” the vote total: before election day, it took away the ability of a number of people to vote in districts and precincts that heavily favored Hillary Clinton. When these people showed up to vote, they were simply turned away. Most of them would have simply left. Some surely cast provisional ballots, but those don’t end up counting if your registration is missing from the system.
Now, by Paul Manafort’s own admission, we know that he provided the Russians with the internal polling data that allowed them to figure out how to go about it the most efficiently. This proves the Trump campaign and the Kremlin conspired to rig the election. All that’s left is to prove that Donald Trump himself was in on it, and we suspect Mueller has that proof as well.
Watch the CNN panel discussion in the video below: