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Congressional Democrats zero in on latest Manafort-Russia revelation

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Senior Democratic lawmakers called on Wednesday for further investigation into a revelation that in 2016 Donald Trump’s then-presidential election campaign chairman gave polling data to a man U.S. prosecutors have linked to Russian intelligence.

On Tuesday, portions of a court filing by lawyers for convicted former Trump campaign head Paul Manafort were inadvertently made public. They showed he shared the data with a business partner and Russian-Ukrainian political operative Konstantin Kilimnik.

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Patrick Boland, a spokesman for Representative Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee’s new Democratic chairman, noted that Schiff had described the revelation as “stunning” to the Washington Post. He referred Reuters to Schiff’s statement that lawmakers on the committee “need to find out” about Manafort’s interaction with Kilimnik on polling data.

The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged Manafort and Kilimnik in its investigation of Russian interference in the election and whether Trump campaign members coordinated with Moscow officials. President Trump denies any campaign collusion with Russia.

Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has been conducting a bi-partisan investigation into Russian election meddling, also called for further probing of the matter.

“If accurate, this is damning evidence of a senior Trump campaign official providing information to individuals tied to Russian intelligence at the height of the Kremlin’s effort to undermine our election,” Warner said.

There is no evidence that Trump was aware that Manafort was sharing the data with Kilimnik, who was described by Mueller in court documents last year as having “ties to a Russian intelligence service.”

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 Jackie Speier, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the revelations raised new questions about possible “collusion” between Trump’s election team and Russia.

“It’s a significant revelation that further makes the case for cooperation between the President’s team and Russia on steering the outcome of the 2016 election,” Speier told Reuters.

Tuesday’s court filing was submitted by Manafort’s lawyers in response to allegations that their client had lied repeatedly to Mueller, breaching a plea deal under which Manafort agreed to assist Mueller’s probe.

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Due to a formatting error the redacted portions of the filing as initially submitted could be electronically reversed, and an uncensored version was circulated by journalists and others on the Internet. It was later replaced with a properly redacted version.

In addition to the polling data revelation, the filing also showed that Mueller believes Manafort lied to prosecutors about his discussions with Kilimnik about a “Ukrainian peace plan” and a previously undisclosed meeting between Manafort and Kilimnik in Madrid. Manafort’s lawyers said any incorrect statements by him were unintentional.

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Speaking on condition of anonymity, a former Trump campaign aide told Reuters that he was unaware Manafort had shared data with Kilimnik and found the news “disturbing” and especially problematic because the data was provided to a foreign national.

Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump who has repeatedly criticized the Mueller probe as a fruitless “witch hunt”, dismissed the sharing of data with Kilimnik as inconsequential.

“It’s not a crime to talk to a Russian,” Giuliani said. “They are searching for what doesn’t exist. The president did not conspire with the Russians.”

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Giuliani also said on Wednesday that Trump’s legal team told Mueller that the president will not answer any more questions in the investigation.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington and Nathan Layne and Karen Freifeld in New York; editing by Grant McCool


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Here’s why a new rule could result in Trump losing his diploma from Wharton

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In 2019, a college admissions scandal rocked the country. Thus far it has resulted in 53 people being charged with cheating the system, paying for people to take standardized tests and paying their way into schools. Over the 7-year investigation, the FBI uncovered everyone from celebrities to wealthy families for conspiracy to commit felony mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

In response to the scandal, the University of Pennsylvania announced that would revoke the degree of any graduate found to have given false information in an admission application, cheated on an exam or tempered with their records, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis still won’t reveal true COID-19 data — so things are probably much worse

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Florida reached 213,000 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, as Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to encourage the state to reopen at all costs.

According to CNN's Randi Kaye, the numbers spell "trouble" for the state as it's GOP leaders are opting for a simplistic approach to reopening.

Just in the last 24 hours, they have had more than 1,600 people hospitalized for COVID," she cited. "In the last two weeks, the hospitalization haves gone up 90 percent. The ICU bed demand has gone up 86 percent, and the ventilator usage has gone up 127 percent. The governor is saying he's sending 100 nurses and 47 beds to Jackson Health because they need it so much. But at last check, we've noted that about 56 hospitals around the state have run out of ICU beds, which means they have no space for anyone who needs an ICU bed. This is really critical for Miami-Dade because they make up the 24 percent of the cases throughout the state, so they really need those hospital beds."

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Joe Shapiro — the man who took Trump’s SATs for him

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The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School is being thrust into the spotlight after it was alleged that President Donald Trump was admitted after his sister did his homework for him and a friend named Joe Shapiro took his SATs.

In a new tell-all book by the president's niece, Mary Trump, it was revealed that the Penn grad wasn't quite the "genius" he has claimed to be. He announced he was "first in his class at Wharton," though he never was admitted to the prestigious MBA program at the school and he was never listed on the dean's list the year he graduated, the Penn student newspaper reported in 2017.

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