Bigger Than People Seem to Realize

January 8, 2019 10:31 p.m.

I think the hoopla over President Trump’s Oval Office address tonight has temporarily blunted or distracted people from the full import of what the Times just reported about the Trump campaign polling data. They may even have missed some of it themselves since they buried that nugget well down into the piece. Paul Manafort was secretly sharing confidential campaign polling data with a top Russian oligarch who is closely tied to Vladimir Putin. To me this really ends the debate about ‘collusion’, to the extent there still was one. It seems bigger than the Trump Tower meeting.

There are a few other parts of the Times report that bear noting (emphasis added).

Both Mr. Manafort and Rick Gates, the deputy campaign manager, transferred the data to Mr. Kilimnik in the spring of 2016 as Mr. Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination, according to a person knowledgeable about the situation. Most of the data was public, but some of it was developed by a private polling firm working for the campaign, according to the person.

This may simply be an oddly phrased sentence. But it’s most obvious meaning suggests multiple and on-going transfers of campaign data. They’re not carrying the data up a hill. Two people don’t need to send it. It says they both did. This sounds at least like both men were sending data to Kilimnik. It’s the next paragraph that says Manafort told Gates to instruct Kilimnik to pass the data to Deripaska. Then there’s the “private polling firm.” What firm? What kind of data?

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