President Trump on Thursday denied any knowledge that his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared polling data with a Russian who has ties to the Kremlin's intelligence community.
They also defended their client's recollections of his meetings with Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian citizen who served as his key representative on the ground in Ukraine during a series of political campaigns in which Manafort served as a highly paid consultant. Manafort's lawyers said any incorrect statements by him were unintentional.
CNN noted that, according to an unnamed source familiar with Mueller's interest in Fabrizio, the Mueller team's interview with the pollster "included questions about his polling work for Manafort in Ukraine rather than his internal Trump campaign polling", in CNN's words.
Citing Manafort's electronic communications, the special counsel said he had remained in touch with Trump aides, including a May 26, 2018, text exchange that came months after his initial indictment authorizing a "person to speak with an administration official on Manafort's behalf".
The report from CNN adds more intrigue to the recent revelation that Manafort himself was accused by Mueller of sharing polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, whom Mueller has alleged holds "ties to a Russian intelligence service", during the 2016 election. That could change, assuming that Trump's lying about this, but Mueller wouldn't have put this much effort into publicly undermining Manafort's credibility as a witness if that was a likely possibility.
A jury convicted Manafort on eight counts of tax and bank-fraud in August during his trial in Alexandria, Virginia.