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Manafort filing reveals alleged campaign communications with Russian operative

Manafort allegedly shared data with Russian operative

Attorneys for Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman, submitted a poorly redacted filing on Tuesday revealing that Manafort shared polling data with a Russian operative during the campaign. Special counsel Robert Mueller submitted a filing in November accusing Manafort of breaching his plea agreement with the special counsel's office by lying to federal investigators.

The special counsel said in a memo describing Manafort's alleged wrongdoing in December that Manafort's lies to federal investigators were not simply "memory lapses."

According to that memo, Manafort lied about several things in breach of his plea deal, including his contact with Konstantin Kilimnik, who ran Manafort's office in Kiev. Kilimnik, who has ties to Russian intelligence, was indicted in June. Much of the information about Kilimnik was redacted in the filing, although Manafort admitted he conspired with Kilimnik to obstruct justice.

In their response on Tuesday, Manafort's attorneys inadvertently revealed that the special counsel alleges Manafort "lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign."

Manafort's attorneys argue in the filing that he had answered the special counsel's questions truthfully to the best of his ability, but that his work on Ukrainian political events and of the alleged information sharing with Kilimnik "simply were not at the forefront of Mr. Manafort's mind during the period at issue." His attorneys added that "it is not surprising at all that Mr. Manafort was unable to recall specific details prior to having his recollection refreshed."

Manafort's attorneys also argued that some of the special counsel's arguments were not sound. The filing claims that the first alleged lie by Manafort was "related to a text message from a third-party asking permission to use Mr. Manafort's name as an introduction in the event the third-party met the President," which they argue "did not constitute outreach to the President."

"The second example identified by the Special Counsel is hearsay purportedly offered by an undisclosed third party and the defense has not been provided with the statement," Manafort's attorneys said.

The filing from Mueller's office in November accusing Manafort of violating the plea agreement alleged that Manafort lied to federal investigators "on a variety of subject matters." Manafort was convicted of various financial crimes in August before reaching an agreement in September to cooperate with Mueller's Russia investigation.

Manafort reached a plea agreement with Mueller's office on Sept. 14 to avoid a second trial on additional charges in D.C. District Court. Under the deal, Manafort pledged "to cooperate fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly" with Mueller's probe and any other investigation. 

Clare Hymes contributed reporting