Paul Manafort told Insider he gave Trump data to Russians to lay the groundwork for future business deals
- Paul Manafort denies that he shared polling data with Russians to help Trump win in 2016.
- Manafort says that he shared the information to lay the groundwork for future business deals.
Donald Trump's 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort told Insider in an exclusive interview that he shared campaign polling data with a suspected Russian intelligence officer to lay out the groundwork for future business dealings for himself and not to help Trump get elected.
"It was meant to show how Clinton was vulnerable," he told Insider.
He was trying to leverage his connections with Trump to get more money from "pro-Russia oligarchs," Manafort added.
Manafort acknowledged he was aware that he shared confidential polling data from the Trump campaign with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate with suspected ties to Russian intelligence. In 2021, the Treasury Department found that Kilimnik then shared data deemed as "sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy" with Russian spies. The Department then sanctioned Kilimnik for this transaction.
Manafort pushed back on the claim that the information was sensitive and told Insider that the data he shared with the business associate "was a combination of public information."
Manafort previously denied that he shared information with Kilimnik during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections. He told Insider that he failed to recall sharing data with Kilimnik during Mueller's investigation because his memory began to deteriorate due to the conditions of his detainment.
Manafort's interview with Insider comes after he spent nearly two years in prison on various charges, including tax fraud and witness tampering, a result of Mueller's investigation. Trump pardoned Manafort in 2020.
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