Dan Bongino: In a somewhat heated exchange with Rep. Matt Gaetz last night, CNN’s Chris Cuomo cited the case of Paul Manafort sharing a poll with Ukranian/Russian political consultant Konstantin Kilimnik in making an obscure case for collusion (while Robert Mueller’s special counsel has uncovered zero evidence of it).
The sharing was revealed in an unredacted filing against Manafort filed in January. The filing disclosed that “The Government concludes… that Mr. Manafort’s initial responses to inquiries about his meetings and interactions with Mr. Kilimnik were lies to the OSC attorneys and investigators… The same is true with regard to the Government’s allegation that Mr. Manafort lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign.” Manafort asked Kilimnik to pass the data to Ukrainians Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov. The legal filing gives no indication that President Donald Trump knew of the matter (and remember that Manafort only actually worked for Trump for about four and a half months before being fired).
We don’t know what the poll was of, but it likely contained a cross-tabulation showing how voters reacted to different election-related questions. There are a few reasons why this
We don’t know what the poll was of, but it likely contained a cross-tabulation showing how voters reacted to different election-related questions. There are a few reasons why this is flimsy proof of collusion;
- This is a poll we’re speaking of. If the Russians (or anyone) really wanted to measure public opinion on an issue, nothing is stopping them from commissioning a poll on their own. Russia has outlets operating in the U.S. that regularly conduct polling on the issues, such as Sputnik.
- Even if the Russian government weren’t to carry out their own poll, there is no shortage of polling data in the world. Numerous polling organizations regularly poll on the exact same issues. It’s relatively easy to find some measure of public opinion on any issue you can think up.
- Are we supposed to believe there’s something sinister in sharing a poll with someone?
Most importantly of all, if Cuomo wants to view this as a form of “collusion by proxy,” by his own logic there was more direct collision in favor of the Clinton campaign going on. As the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross uncovered, back in October the former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr testified to lawmakers that the Ukranian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko had been a source of theirs. Fusion GPS was the firm responsible for British spy Christopher Steele’s bogus dossier. more here