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Senate report finds Manafort passed sensitive campaign data to Russian intelligence officer

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released the fifth and final volume of its report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which details "counterintelligence threats and vulnerabilities."

Why it matters: "While the Committee does not describe the final result as a complete picture, this volume provides the most comprehensive description to date of Russia's activities and the threat they posed," the bipartisan panel writes in the introduction to its 966-page report.


Highlights

Paul Manafort: The report found that the former Trump campaign chairman began working on influence operations for the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and other pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarchs in 2004.

  • Manafort hired and worked closely with Russian national Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the committee definitively calls a "Russian intelligence officer" that served as a liaison between him and Deripaska.
  • On numerous occasions, Manafort sought to pass sensitive internal polling data and campaign strategy to Kilimnik. The committee was unable to determine why or what Kilimnik did with that information.
  • The committee did, however, obtain "some information" suggesting Kilimnik "may have been connected" to Russia's hacking and leaking of Democratic emails.
  • The bottom line: "Taken as a whole, Manafort's high level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services, particularly Kilimnik and associates of Oleg Deripaska, represented a grave counterintelligence threat," the committee wrote.

Roger Stone/WikiLeaks: The committee found that then-candidate Trump and senior campaign officials attempted to obtain advance information about WikiLeaks' release of damaging emails from Roger Stone, who they believed had inside information.

2016 Trump Tower meeting: The committee found that Donald Trump Jr. expected to receive "derogatory information" that would benefit the campaign from a person he knew was connected to the Russian government, but that no information was ultimately transmitted.

  • Two participants at the meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin, had far more "extensive and concerning" ties to the the Russian government, including Russian intelligence, than publicly known,.

FBI investigation: The report concluded that "certain FBI procedures and actions in response to the Russian threat to the 2016 elections were flawed," specifically with respect to the bureau's interactions with the DNC about the email hacks and its treatment of the Steele Dossier.

What they're saying:

  • Senate Intelligence acting chairman Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): “We can say, without any hesitation, that the Committee found absolutely no evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election. ... Russia took advantage of members of the Transition Team’s relative inexperience in government, opposition to Obama Administration policies, and Trump’s desire to deepen ties with Russia to pursue unofficial channels through which Russia could conduct diplomacy."
  • Senate Intelligence ranking member Mark Warner (D-Va.): “At nearly 1,000 pages, Volume 5 stands as the most comprehensive examination of ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign to date – a breathtaking level of contacts between Trump officials and Russian government operatives that is a very real counterintelligence threat to our elections. ... This cannot happen again."

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Read the full report.

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