"Gates recalled Manafort saying that the hack was probably done by Ukrainians, not Russians," read a summary of an interview with Gates. Manafort has extensive ties with Ukrainian politicians and businessmen and has been serving prison time for fraud and illegal lobbying in the US on their behalf, among other crimes.
Recently released documents show how far back some people in Trump's political operation have theorized Ukraine's unfounded role in hacking Democrats.
Trump continues to insist on this theory of conspiracy, as he requested an investigation into Ukraine's possible role in the 201
The publication includes 274 pages of interview notes from Mueller's team, emails and other documents related to Gates' co-operation, former senior campaigner Steve Bannon and former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen. Both Cohen and Gates pleaded guilty to Mueller's criminal charges.
Banon told the attorney's special office that Trump was interested in finding 33,000 Hillary Clinton emails, according to which she had been deleted from her personal server, according to documents. Neither Bannon nor Gates said they knew the Russians had stolen democratic documents, but believed that foreigners had made hacks.
Gates also notes that this theory blaming Ukraine is backed by Konstantin Kilmnik, a longtime associate of Manafort and
"Kilimnick also stated that the hack could be carried out by Russian operatives in Ukraine," read the summary of Gates interview.
Kilmnik is a key figure in Mueller's report. He was accused of trying to fake potential witnesses against Manafort, and prosecutors say he has ties to Russian intelligence and lives in Russia. He denied any links with Russian intelligence, and any responsibility for Russia's interference in the 2016 elections.
Much of the interview notes are still being edited by the Ministry of Justice.