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U.S. says Russia was given Trump campaign poll data

It was one of the more tantalising, yet unresolved, questions of the investigation into possible connections between Russia and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign: why was a business associate of campaign chairman Paul Manafort given internal polling data — and what did he do with it?

A Treasury Department statement on Thursday offered a potentially significant clue, asserting that Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian and Ukrainian political consultant, had shared sensitive campaign and polling information with Russian intelligence services.

Mr. Kilimnik has long been alleged by U.S. officials to have ties to Russian intelligence. But the statement in a broader Treasury Department sanctions announcement was the first time the U.S. government had so directly drawn a connection from the Trump campaign to the Kremlin’s intelligence services. The revelation was all the more startling because it went beyond any allegation made in either special counsel Robert Mueller's 2019 report or in an even more damning and detailed document released last year by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Both those investigations were unable to determine what Mr. Kilimnik did with the data and whether he shared it further. The issue resurfaced Thursday because Mr. Kilimnik was one of 32 people and entities sanctioned by the U.S. government for interference in the 2020 election. Officials say Mr. Kilimnik sought to promote the bogus narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 election.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 10:14:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-says-russia-was-given-trump-campaign-poll-data/article34338631.ece

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