Paul Manafort shared polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik –a businessman linked to the Russian intelligence unit GRU, which hacked the DNC– at least that’s what Special Counsel Robert Mueller apparently thinks, a poorly redacted court filing by the former Trump campaign manager’s attorneys showed.
Details that Manafort met with Kilimnik in Madrid while a member of the campaign and that he not only shared polling data, but also discussed a Ukraine peace plan as well as the revelation that the Mueller investigation was looking at Kilimnik’s role in Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election surfaced when Manafort’s lawyers failed to redact certain parts of the filing.
“Manafort ‘conceded’ that he discussed or may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Mr. Kilimnik on more than one occasion,” the filing said, according to a report in the Washington Post.
The GRU’s Fancy Bear cyberespionage group has been fingered in multiple cyberattacks, including hacks of the DNC and other Democrat-related organizations during the campaign. Emails taken from those attacks were released in a steady stream to damage presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The group continues to try to disrupt democracy and exert influence in the U.S. and abroad.
“Not only do these Russian state-supported hacker groups engage in traditional hacking at the highest levels, their disinformation campaigns span numerous news and social media websites,” Jeremy Samide, CEO of Stealthcare, said, noting that Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear are behind a lot of fake news stories meant to divide and influence. “They will often use older domains with legacy staying power to give them reputable ratings needed to permeate the Internet with disinformation, and automated bots for distribution.”
In separate news, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Natalya Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump, Jr., Manafort, Jared Kushner and others at Trump Tower in 2016 reportedly to present “dirt” on Clinton, with obstruction of justice in a money laundering scheme.