'Blockbuster’ Manafort revelations should finally end ‘witch hunt talk’: Conservative columnist

'Blockbuster’ Manafort revelations should finally end ‘witch hunt talk’: Conservative columnist

A conservative Washington Post columnist has written a column in which she argues the latest revelations about former Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort sharing confidential campaign polling data with accused Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik is “a blockbuster revelation should end talk of a ‘witch hunt.'”

Jennifer Rubin points to the apparent exchange between Trump’s inner circle and the Russians, in what appears to now be a two-way street.

“This is not the first piece of evidence of collusion between the Trump camp and Russian figures, to be sure,” she said. “The Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 between Manafort, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr., and Russians promising ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton has been known for some time. But here we see Manafort giving something of value (insider polling data) to a Russian.”

As Rubin notes, we need to know why Manafort wanted to pass polling to Kilimnik. She quotes former Department of Justice spokesman Matthew Miller in explaining that there likely isn’t an innocent explanation.

“It’s hard to see what good polling data would be to a Russian oligarch, so it raises the question of whether Manafort’s actual goal was to get the information to the Russian government itself,” Miller said.

As Rubin notes, this is yet another bullet-hole in Trump’s original claim to have nothing to do with Russians during the campaign.

“We have, at the very least, yet another previously undisclosed contact between the Trump campaign and Russians,” she writes. “We’ve come a long way since Trump claimed neither he nor anyone on the campaign had contacts with Russians… It’s hard to describe how bizarre this many contacts between a campaign and a hostile foreign government — one trying to influence the campaign to that side’s favor — truly is. Keep in mind that no major party presidential campaign of which we are aware ever had a single contact with the Russians.”

Read the full column here.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.