Trump denies knowledge of Manafort’s alleged contact with suspected ex-Russian agent

Trump denies knowledge of Manafort’s alleged contact with suspected ex-Russian agent

President Trump on Thursday denied any knowledge that his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared polling data with a Russian who has ties to the Kremlin's intelligence community.

The filing contains new information about Manafort's connections to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian business associate who was indicted past year on charges he tampered with potential witnesses. Trump did not elaborate and turned to another reporter with a question on a different topic.

When asked by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, "Did you know Paul Manafort was sharing polling data from your campaign with the Russians?"

Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russian Federation and criticized Mueller's ongoing probe as a "witch hunt".

In September, he agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with Mueller to avoid another trial in Washington federal court.

Akhmetov's statement to CNN also said, "As has been repeatedly stated in the media, the work between SCM and Mr. Manafort and his consulting firm was completed in 2005".

News of Manafort's coordination with the Russian, Konstantin Kilimnik, came to light by mistake on Tuesday when his defense team failed to properly redact portions of a court document meant to defend their client from accusations he lied to investigators. Prosecutors say Manafort acknowledged the meeting only after being told that they were in the same city on the same day. 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.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Mueller to respond by January 14 with "factual and evidentiary basis" for why it is accusing Manafort of lying during his cooperation. The U.S. and European Union have imposed sanctions on Russian Federation over that move as well as the country's support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Prosecutors alleged that Manafort lied about providing Kilimnik with the polling data. But there has been no indication that Trump knew about Manafort's activities or that the recipients used the data to help Trump win the election.

"Issues and communications related to Ukrainian political events simply were not at the time forefront of Mr. Manafort's mind during the period at issue and it is not surprising at all that Manafort was unable to recall specific details prior to having his recollection refreshed", they said.

Mueller's team has also charged Kilimnik with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice.

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