Dear Commons Community,
Newly released documents show a Trump campaign official told the FBI that during the 2016 presidential race the campaign’s chairman, Paul Manafort, pushed the idea that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s servers. The Associated Press is reporting that Paul Manafort falsely pushed the idea that Ukraine was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee servers during the special counsel’s Russia probe. The unsubstantiated theory, advanced by President Donald Trump even after he took office, would later help trigger the impeachment inquiry now consuming the White House.
“Notes from an FBI interview were released Saturday after lawsuits by BuzzFeed News and CNN led to public access to hundreds of pages of documents from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The documents included summaries of interviews with other figures from the Mueller probe, including Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Information related to Ukraine took on renewed interest after calls for impeachment based on efforts by the president and his administration to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrat Joe Biden. Trump, when speaking with Ukraine’s new president in July, asked about the DNC servers in the same phone call in which he pushed for an investigation into Biden.
Manafort speculated about Ukraine’s responsibility as the campaign sought to capitalize on DNC email disclosures and as Trump associates discussed how they could get hold of the material themselves, deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates told investigators, according to a summary of one of his interviews.
Gates said Manafort’s assertion that Ukraine might have done it echoed the position of Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort business associate who had also speculated that the hack could have been carried out by Russian operatives in Ukraine. U.S. authorities have assessed that Kilimnik, who was also charged in Mueller’s investigation, has ties to Russian intelligence. American intelligence agencies have determined that Russia was behind the hack, and Mueller’s team indicted 12 Russian agents in connection with the intrusion.
Gates also said the campaign believed that Michael Flynn, who later became Trump’s first national security adviser, would be in the best position to obtain Hillary Clinton’s missing emails because of his Russia connections. Flynn said he could use his intelligence sources to obtain the emails and was “adamant that Russians did not carry out the hack” because he believed that the U.S. intelligence community couldn’t have figured out the source, according to the agent’s notes. Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.”
What a bunch of slimes!