In a news release issued Thursday announcing new sanctions against Russia, the Treasury Department revealed that Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate of former President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, passed along campaign polling data to Russian intelligence services in 2016.
“During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy,” the Treasury Department said. “Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
This establishes for the first time that private meetings between Manafort, former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, and Kilimnik were a “direct pipeline from the campaign to Russian spies at a time when the Kremlin was engaged in a covert effort to sabotage the 2016 presidential election,” The New York Times reports. Kilimnik and Manafort first worked together when Manafort was a political consultant in Ukraine.
Kilimnik was identified during earlier government investigations as a Russian intelligence operative, and in 2018 was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice; the FBI is offering a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to Kilimnik’s arrest. During former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election, investigators attempted to figure out why Manafort provided internal campaign polling data to Kilimnik. Read more at The New York Times.