WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared polling data during the 2016 presidential campaign with a business associate accused of having ties to Russian intelligence, and prosecutors say he lied to them about it, according to a court filing Tuesday.
The allegation marks the first time prosecutors have accused Trump’s chief campaign aide of sharing information related to the election with his Russian contacts. Although the filing does not say whether the polling information was public or what was done with it, it raises the possibility that Russia might have used inside information from Trump’s Republican campaign as part of its effort to interfere with the election on Trump’s behalf.
The information was accidentally revealed in a defense filing that was meant to be redacted. The Associated Press was able to review the material because it wasn’t properly blacked out.
Manafort was among the first Americans charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and has been among the central characters in the case, having led the campaign during the Republican convention and as, U.S intelligence officials say, Russia was working to sway the election in Trump’s favor. Manafort has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in Washington and faces sentencing in a separate case in Virginia.
In its filing, the defense was trying to rebut allegations that Manafort intentionally lied to Mueller’s team after agreeing to plead guilty last September. Prosecutors say Manafort breached their plea agreement by lying, but defense lawyers argued that any misstatements were simple mistakes made by a man coping with illness, exhaustion and extensive questioning from investigators.
Lawyers say Manafort suffers from depression and anxiety, has had little contact with his family and, on days when he met with investigators, was awakened before dawn to have hourslong interviews with little time to prepare for the questioning.
“These circumstances weighed heavily on Mr. Manafort’s state of mind and on his memory as he was questioned at length,” the lawyers wrote.
Tuesday’s filing revealed the first extensive details of what he is accused of having lied about. A spokesman for Manafort’s defense team declined to comment on the incomplete redactions or on Mueller’s allegations, but lawyers later filed a corrected version of the document.
The filing contains new details about Manafort’s connection to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian business associate who was indicted last year on charges he tampered with potential witnesses. The U.S. believes he is connected to Russian intelligence, but Kilimnik, who is not in U.S. custody, has denied those ties.
The latest allegations further detail how Manafort’s work on the campaign intersected with his past international work with Kilimnik.
Emails previously reported by the AP and other news outlets show that in July 2016, Manafort told Kilimnik he was willing to provide “private briefings” about the Trump campaign to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Manafort dangled the briefings as he was mired in a dispute with Deripaska over a multimillion-dollar deal involving a Ukrainian cable company.
Through his spokesman, Manafort has acknowledged discussing the briefings but said they never occurred.
The defense document acknowledges that Manafort conceded he had met with Kilimnik in Madrid only after being told that they had traveled to the city on the same day. Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said Tuesday that the Madrid trip mentioned in the filing occurred in January or February 2017— months after Manafort was ousted from the campaign and as Trump was taking office.
Manafort also did not initially disclose having earlier discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Kilimnik on more than one occasion during the 2016 presidential campaign. Russia and Ukraine have been locked in a conflict since 2014 over Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The U.S. and European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia over that move as well as the country’s support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Manafort’s attorneys don’t specify the details of the peace plan but they write that Manafort told prosecutors in September that “he would have given the Ukrainian peace plan more thought, had the issue not been raised during the period he was engaged with work related to the presidential campaign.
“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.
They say the same about his recollection of sharing polling data with Kilimnik related to the 2016 campaign.
Prosecutors have also accused Manafort of lying about his contacts with Trump administration officials, which defense lawyers also deny.
The filing says that a May 26, 2018, text message exchange with Manafort involved an unidentified “third-party” who was asking permission to name-drop Manafort if the person met with Trump. The request to use Manafort as an introduction to Trump came while Manafort was under indictment in two federal cases.
The defense team says Mueller’s team has indicated that they will not pursue additional charges against Manafort. Defense lawyers say they don’t want a separate hearing before a judge on the lying allegations but will address them instead during the sentencing process.
Read the filing here: http://apne.ws/0tKWu9A
So-called Red Flag laws: An unconstitutional solution to a non-existent problem
As with most Leftist affronts to Liberty, unconstitutional gun confiscation SWATing or so-called ‘Red Flag’ laws are based on a lie. The usual contention is that these laws that eviscerate basic constitutional protections of due process are desperately needed because there are no other means to deal with people who are alleged to be a danger to themselves or others. Our previous article on the subject dealt with this outright falsehood. There are laws and procedures for involuntary civil commitments already on the books to handle these extreme situations. In the case of Florida and the Parkland mass murder, the “The Baker Act” was already in place, but the authorities failed to take action in time. Other states such as Colorado already have procedures in place for Mental Health Holds.
The existence of these laws have been ignored in the effort to ‘enhance’ the government’s ability to confiscate guns. Its just another case of the Left exploiting a tragedy to ‘Rahm’ through new laws to deprive the people of their means of self-defense.
Laws built on lies
Most articles on what is supposedly the urgent need for gun confiscation SWATing or ‘Red Flag’ laws will make vague allusions there are no other ways of handling these situations to the point of asserting that the government has never had the authority to deal with these situations.
State governments clearly have these abilities, but the existing laws protect the Constitutional rights of the accused without having the primary purpose of confiscating guns – an intolerable situation for the authoritarian Left that sees 120 million gun owners as a threat simply because they are gun owners.
Why violate one human right when several can be attacked at once?
Leftists seem to be in some perverse competition to see which one of them can conjure up new laws to attack Liberty in as many ways as possible. For them, it’s a more efficient form of tyranny with one law doing the work of several. What better way to suppress Liberty than to confiscate guns because of someone exercising their right of free speech while destroying due process protections?
The dangerous implications to the 1st Amendment
These laws will have devastating consequences for the natural right of free speech. It will only take one concerned person in the group of people who can initiate these actions to decide an innocent gun owner is guilty of ‘thoughtcrime’ to have their property confiscated. The odds are that the Left will also expand who can initiate these gun confiscation SWATings and streamline the process.
This will only serve to further stigmatize gun owners and suppress their right of free speech. Talk too much about the human right of self-defense and the law-abiding could experience a knock on the door at 5:00 AM with property confiscation conducted at gunpoint. One would then have a protracted legal battle on their hands to prove they are innocent after being treated as guilty with all manner of legal costs and red tape just to have their property returned.
The 2nd Amendment – the primary target
In their ongoing efforts to rid the nation of Liberty, the Left has decided that it should be illegal to defend oneself. Thus they have expended copious amounts of digital ink in demanding the death of the 2nd amendment and the confiscation of guns. They are perfectly willing to do this one innocent gun owner at a time if they have to. Never mind that the common sense human right of self-defense is the bedrock of the Bill or Rights. They have no use for the limitations of their power afforded by the Constitution, much less the Liberty conserving provisions of the Bill of Rights.
But wait, there’s more – The 4th and 5th amendments also on the chopping block
These laws turn the presumption of innocence on its head, forcing the victim of one of these gun confiscation raids to have to prove they aren’t guilty of thoughtcrime before they can get their property returned. Not to mention the ‘ex parte’ nature of these proceedings depriving innocent of the critical right of due process and the right to face one’s accuser before these confiscations take place. Lastly, there is the takings clause applicable to the private property being taken for public use since not many innocent gun owners will have the means for a protracted legal battle with the government, resulting in the loss of private property.
Why the focus on firearms?-
The existing laws for Involuntary Civil Commitment are not only superior in protecting everyone’s civil rights. They also serve to keep people from harm by other means. The unconstitutional practice of gun confiscation SWATing only addresses the issue of guns, leaving the supposed danger to society free to use alternative methods to cause harm.
If safety is the point of the so-called ‘Red Flag’ or ‘ERPO’ laws, then why aren’t their proponents concerned about this issue? If someone has their guns taken away suddenly by unconstitutional means, what’s to stop them from using explosives – flour, etc.- from carrying out their deadly deeds? Suppose an alleged ‘danger to society’ no longer has their guns, but still has a motorized vehicle or the ability to make edged weaponry. What about that circumstance?
Well, if it were really the case in that these people are concerned about other people’s welfare to the point of having them committed, they would have to follow the rule of law and afford the target their right of due process, etc. They wouldn’t be able to take someone’s means of self-defense just on the word of some other aggrieved party. It wouldn’t serve their desire for gun confiscation and gun confiscation alone, so it has no usefulness for them.
Things aren’t going according to plan for the Liberty Grabber Left
The progression for the Left has always been one of control, registration and then confiscation. They used to think that it was just a matter of time before Intergalactic Background Checks would be put in place, then registration would be required – both of which would do nothing to keep people safe or ‘cut down on the carnage’. It was all supposed to happen as it did in the UK and Australia. Intergalactic Background Checks, registration, then confiscation.
But that isn’t happening, despite the baseless polling to the contrary, everyone isn’t clamoring to have the government control their private property. Most of the Pro-Liberty see the danger in this control, with it leading to registration, followed by confiscation. Most on both sides have already admitted that Intergalactic Background Checks don’t work, that the dirty little secret being that these have no other purpose than as a stepping stones to confiscation.
As others have indicated, Leftists aren’t anti-gun, they are anti-Liberty. They love to see them in the hands of the ‘politically correct’, but cannot deal with them in the hands of the right people.
Leftists desperately want to deprive the Pro-Liberty Right of their guns. These firearms represent a vitally important and final check on unlimited governmental power. It’s the primary bulwark against them attaining government power to attain their wondrous utopia they desire. They are so desperate to remove it that they will confiscate them one innocent person at a time, without a care for its effects on safety or Liberty.
The bizarre downward spiral of Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen, the former attorney and “fixer” for President Trump before he won the 2016 election, has gone from being a man with all the right connections to a convicted felon whose solace can only come if he’s able to do damage to his former boss. That’s it. That’s all Michael Cohen has left in the tank to drive him on in life.
It would be a sad fall from grace, except the more we learn about him, the more we realize he wasn’t living a life of grace at all. Instead, he existed in the shadows doing hush-hush deals and having to fake the respect he felt he deserved.
The latest embarrassment comes in the form of a WSJ article that kills any remnant of his professional and personal reputations. On the professional side, he allegedly paid money to have an IT specialist boost pre-candidate Trump’s poll numbers on CNBC and Drudge Report polls.
On the personal front, he allegedly had the same IT guy create a Twitter account that portrayed Cohen as powerful, successful, and loved by women as a “sex symbol.”
The clowning of Michael Cohen on Twitter has been especially brutal.
Michael Cohen’s testimony before Congress next month should be fun …. https://t.co/bd5Ch551g8
— Derek Cressman (@DerekCressman) January 17, 2019
— Byron York (@ByronYork) January 17, 2019
Astroturfing one’s dream of being a sex symbol is sad even by Michael Cohen standards https://t.co/XZzzjlMlDF
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) January 17, 2019
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) January 17, 2019
It really doesn’t get much funnier than Michael Cohen paying a Liberty University IT guy to oversee an astroturfing operation to support the Trump campaign by saying Michael Cohen is hot. That’s just top tier stuff
— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) January 17, 2019
An email from a radio listener: "Joe, Michael Cohen is a lying, lowlife thug. I don't believe anything he says."
Me: "Michael Cohen was Trump's personal lawyer/fixer. Why would Trump hire a lying, lowlife thug? I thought he hired only the best people?"
I'm waiting for a reply.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) January 17, 2019
WSJ reports Michael Cohen hired someone to try to rig an online CNBC poll on influential business leaders to get Trump on the list (https://t.co/JQAllzAwCx); Cohen now says he did it at Trump's direction; when Trump lost anyway, he tweeted this (found by @kyledcheney): pic.twitter.com/9d9MCFtAfW
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 17, 2019
The excitement I get reading about how Michael Cohen paid a dude with a bag stuffed with cash to rig online polls and create a twitter account called @WomenForCohen to talk about how great Cohen is.
We are living in the greatest timeline. pic.twitter.com/dUa3MiS4fV
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) January 17, 2019
Rock bottom is coming
The reason we’re calling this a downward spiral is because it’s ongoing and the worst is yet to come. When will he hit rock bottom? That comes next month when he testifies before Congress.
We can expect two things:
- He will lay out embarrassing and potentially damaging information about the President that will all be denied except for the parts that Cohen recorded.
- He will bring the maximum level of disgrace to his own reputation and future because at this point, he really doesn’t have either.
It’s going to be ugly. Every word will be analyzed. The news cycle will be dominated by his revelations as mainstream media goes for the President Trump’s jugular.
And it won’t help
The only thing Michael Cohen has left is revenge. He feels wronged by his former boss, so he’s out to destroy his Presidency. It may work, but I seriously doubt it. Lest we forget, President Trump survived GrabThemGate. He was clowned over John Barron. He’s the guy who invoked the National Inquirer as his source to defeat Ted Cruz, then somehow convinced his base he was the champion against fake news. Whatever Michael Cohen has to say, it’s unlikely to be enough to make a real difference in the 2020 election. It’s only going to drive Cohen’s own public persona so low, he’ll be even more of a punchline than he already is.
Counterbalancing the fire-hose of Leftist propaganda
A study confirms the extreme bias of the national socialist media and what you can do about it.
A study just released from the MRC should only confirm what is already understood to be the case. The national socialist media is horribly biased against the pro-liberty right and the president in particular.
Since January 20, 2017, the Media Research Center has analyzed every moment of coverage of President Trump on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, seen by approximately 23 million people each night. Highlights:
The tone of coverage remains incessantly hostile: 90% negative, vs. just 10% positive (excluding neutral statements), matching the historically bad press we documented in 2017. Yet despite the media’s obvious disapproval, public opinion of the President actually improved slightly during 2018, from an average 40% approval on January 1 to 42.7% approval on December 31, according to RealClearPolitics.
This is how the insanely biased Leftist media has a pernicious effect on our society. This explains how some actually think that the historical scam of socialism is a workable system of government. Or how there is a panic over the onset of
Global Cooling.. Global Warming.. Climate Change to the point that we somehow need a ‘Green new deal’ of ideas that aren’t even ‘green’ or new. This is how it’s become acceptable in some circles to jettison basic civil rights because of some perceived ‘epidemic’ in ‘gun violence’.
Pushing back on the Overton window.
We are dealing with a phenomenon of once outrageous ideas becoming mainstream. Concepts that only a few years ago would have had people protesting in the streets are accepted with almost quiet resignation. This has been labelled the ‘Overton window’ where a constant drumbeat of Leftist lies and propaganda have altered the perception of acceptable policy agendas. This was exemplified in a recent article about the state of Oregon wanting to institute extremly strict laws on Liberty. The piece causally refereed to government control of private property almost in passing:
A bill that would increase firearm regulations in Oregon is a reminder that states have vastly different gun laws.
In Idaho, for example, you can purchase a gun from a private owner without going through a background check. In Oregon, background checks are required for all sales.
Never mind that practically everyone – Academia, Vox, even the director of Everytown – has admitted that Intergalactic Background Checks [Universal, enhanced] will not have any value aside from setting up the nation for the next step to confiscation: Registration.
In the battle against the ever encroaching authoritarian Left, we need more voices instead of more regulation. Leftist media sources will continue to discredit themselves spewing narrowly focused propaganda. Some may wonder why they don’t talk about the treatment of ‘marginalized’ groups overseas or similar issues they consider to be critical in the states. The answer is simple, they have a specific focus and agenda that cannot be distracted by these and other problems. This is why it is critical that people have sources such as the NOQ report that don’t carry those agendas. This is why we desperately need your help.
The national socialist media will hopefully become less and less effective at selling the Left’s authoritarian agenda, but they are still able to sway the opinion of many. That is why is it critical that we have voices that act in opposition to its outrageous propaganda.
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