Pa. Turns Up Several Times In Mueller Report
The 448-page redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election includes several references to Pennsylvania, a state that was critical to President Donald Trump’s victory in that contest.
Among those is a nugget on Paul Manafort, who was serving as Trump’s campaign chairman and chief strategist, describing the campaign’s strategy and polling during an August 2, 2016, conversation with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business partner in Ukraine who prosecutors described as having ties to Russian intelligence. That conversation including discussion of Pennsylvania and other battleground states.
Here’s what the report says that Manafort and Kilimnik discussed:
“Second, Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the state of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s plan to win the election. That briefing encompassed the Campaign’s messaging and its internal polling data. According to Gates, it also included discussion of ‘battleground’ states, which Manafort identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. Manafort did not refer explicitly to ‘battleground’ states in his telling of the August 2 discussion.”
The name Gates refers to Rick Gates, a business associate of Paul Manafort’s.
The report says that wasn’t the only instance of Manafort sharing internal polling data, and that “the sharing continued for some period of time after their August meeting.”
Investigators couldn’t assess what Kilimnik did with the data or anyone with whom he might have shared it. They also didn’t identify a connection between the shared polling data and Russia’s interference efforts, according to the report.
The report also detailed interference efforts in Pennsylvania by the Internet Research Agency, which investigators say “conducted social media operations targeted at large U.S. audiences with the goal of sowing discord in the U.S. political system.” They also organized political rallies leading up to the 2016 election, including Oct. 2 rallies in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, advertised as “Miners for Trump” events.
Those rallies also were described in Mueller’s February 2018 indictment of 13 Russians involved in the social media interference efforts.