It’s beginning to look a bit more like, yes, collusion.

Court documents submitted by Paul Manafort’s lawyers accidentally revealed that, while serving as Trump campaign chairman, Manafort handed over internal campaign polling data to Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a Russian businessman linked to the GRU intelligence agency GRU. Kilimnik, in turn, reportedly handed the data over to two Ukrainian oligarchs with close ties to the Kremlin. Manafort allegedly lied to the Mueller investigation about all these actions.

An American presidential campaign chairman handing over of internal polling data to a corporate associate of a foreign power is unusual, at best. But, added to everything already known about contacts between Trump associates and Russian individuals — all of which were initially denied — this raises multiple red flags.

For one, also this week, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District here in New York indicted Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner in Trump Tower in June 2016 to discuss acquiring dirt on Hillary Clinton. Prosecutors claim that, in a money-laundering case involving New York real estate, Veselnitskaya lied about her links to Russian intelligence.

Rightly so, with the House now under Democratic control, seven committee chairmen wrote a letter to Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin asking why the department had decided now was the right time to lift sanctions off of pro-Russian aluminum oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Editorial by the New York Daily News

 

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