On Tuesday, a bungled redaction by attorneys for Paul Manafort revealed that President Donald Trump’s former campaign boss held an overseas meeting with accused Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik and shared polling data with him in the runup to the 2016 campaign.
On Wednesday morning on CNN, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) defended Manafort’s meeting with the Russian spy by arguing that Manafort, who had worked on behalf of a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, had known the spy for many years and that there was nothing odd about a presidential campaign sharing confidential campaign polling data with a foreign adversary.
Lankford described Manafort’s work on behalf of a pro-Putin “puppet” who fled the country under charges that he orchestrated mass killings and is now in hiding under Putin’s protection in Russia, as doing work for “the Ukranian government.”
“This is an ongoing relationship that Paul Manafort had with Ukraine—he was a representative of Ukraine, worked for the Ukrainian government, and was trying to work for a peace proposal—which, by the way, I didn’t support what he was doing and don’t support what he was doing was appropriate,” Lankford said. “But he had Ukrainian clients, this was a Ukranian client.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller has accused Kilimnik of ties to Russian intelligence, but Lankford described him as a former military man.
“This person also previously worked for the Russian military, so did most everybody in that, so I don’t see this as a deliberate contact with the Russian government, this is a person that he’d worked with for a decade and a half at that point, in Ukraine,” he said.
“We need to get the whole story on it because it makes it seem like it was some secret backchannel communication,” he said of the secret backchannel communication between the Trump campaign and a charged Russian spy which Manafort lied to investigators about. “If it was, this was someone that Paul Manafort had known for a very long time and trusted.”
Watch the segment below.
Fox News lying to defend Trump makes it a threat to US national security: CNN contributor
Fox News a threat to American democracy and national security, a CNN contributor explained on Saturday.
Garrett Graff was interviewed by CNN's Ana Cabrera about a new piece he wrote for Wired titled, "Fox News Is Now a Threat to National Security."
"Monday’s split-screen drama, as the House Judiciary Committee weighed impeachment charges against President Trump and as the Justice Department’s inspector general released a 476-page report on the FBI’s handling of its 2016 investigation into Trump’s campaign, made one truth of the modern world inescapable: The lies and obfuscations forwarded ad infinitum on Fox News pose a dangerous threat to the national security of the United States," he wrote.
Lindsey Graham admits nothing will change his mind on Trump impeachment: ‘I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror’
In an interview with CNN International's Becky Anderson at the Doha Forum in Qatar, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) admitted he has no plans to look at the evidence compiled against Donald Trump from the House impeachment inquiry when it is referred to the Senate.
The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee explained that he wants the trial to be quick and that expects nothing to come of it, with the GOP solidly behind fighting impeachment of the president.
During the interview Graham stated, "This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly."
GOP strategist walloped for urging Dem lawmakers to leave Trump alone and worry about being re-elected instead
On CNN Saturday, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and Republican strategist Doug Heye clashed after the latter suggested Democrats should value their re-election over holding President Donald Trump accountable for wrongdoing.
"We have to remember, this is not a trial as we think of trials in courtroom," said Heye. "This is a political process. It is designed to be a political process, and that's why this whole process is played out the way that it has so far. I would say to Maria, the Republicans aren't spending money to shore up Republicans per se. They're spending money to go after vulnerable Democrats who are going home and then coming back and telling Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership, I'm getting killed back home."