President Trump said Thursday that he knew nothing about his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, allegedly sharing 2016 presidential campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate the Federal Bureau of Investigation has said has ties to Russian intelligence.
Kilimnik worked with Manafort's consulting firm when he was representing pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.
The filings show special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, accused Manafort of sending campaign polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, a former business associate of Manafort with connections in the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency.
When a reporter asked about Manafort, Trump replied: "No, I didn't know anything about it".
The lawyers also said they reserved the right to fight back if Mueller brought new charges surrounding the allegations that Manafort lied to prosecutors.
CNN noted that, according to an unnamed source familiar with Mueller's interest in Fabrizio, the Mueller team's interview with the pollster "included questions about his polling work for Manafort in Ukraine rather than his internal Trump campaign polling", in CNN's words.
"Such a failure is unsurprising here, where these occurrences happened during a period when Mr. Manafort was managing a US presidential campaign and had countless meetings, email communications, and other interactions with many different individuals, and traveled frequently", the Manafort attorneys argued.
Manafort already faces lengthy prison sentences for charges brought by Mueller's office in Virginia and Washington, D.C. That could change, assuming that Trump's lying about this, but Mueller wouldn't have put this much effort into publicly undermining Manafort's credibility as a witness if that was a likely possibility.
Trump has long denied any wrongdoing during the campaign and has labeled Mueller's probe a "phony witch hunt".
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