Former campaign chief to Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, gave Russian intelligence agencies “sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” during the 2016 election cycle, the Treasury Department reported Thursday. The Treasury also stated that Manafort associate Konstantin Kilimnik “also sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” These action are now being punished with new sanctions against Russia announced by the President Joe Biden on Thursday.
“Private and public sector corruption facilitated by President Vladimir Putin has enriched his network of confidants, who used their illicit business connections to advance Russia’s campaign to undermine the 2020 U.S. presidential election,” said the new report from the Treasury Department, “and to give Russia plausible deniability in its disinformation activities.”
The report details how Manafort associate Kilimnik “sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In 2018, Kilimnik was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice regarding unregistered lobbying work. Kilimnik has also sought to assist former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych. At Yanukovych’s direction, Kilimnik sought to institute a plan that would return Yanukovych to power in Ukraine.” The FBI is offering a $250,000 reward for information leading to Kilimnik’s arrest.
The new Treasury Department report marks a continuation of the Biden administration’s firm approach to foreign policy. Biden’s newest sanctions on Russia, as well as Secretary of State Anthony Blinken‘s critical meetings with China signal that the United States seeks to punish the increasingly aggressive and authoritarian powers.