The Biden administration's announcement of additional sanctions against Russian officials has claimed for the first time publicly: a former associate of Paul Manafort passed "sensitive" campaign polling data to Russian intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The associate, Konstantin Kilimnik on the FBI's Most Wanted List, is one of the Russian nationals highlighted in the Treasury Department's statement on the sanctions Thursday.
"During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy," the Treasury statement read. "Additionally, 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.
The additional sanctions come to penalize Russian officials for the SolarWinds hack and the 2016 election meddling efforts.
Kilimnik, who used to run an offshoot of Manafort's former consulting business in Ukraine, was also found to have "engaged in foreign interference in the U.S. 2020 presidential election," according to the statement.
Manafort twice met Kilimnik during the 2016 presidential campaign, where the sharing of "sensitive" information had been alleged, according to court documents. Manafort was convicted on 8 charges tied to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, but he was pardoned by former President Donald Trump in the waning days of his administration.
The Mueller Report could not "reliably determine Manafort's purpose in sharing internal polling data with Kilimnik," however.
"Manafort instructed Rick Gates, his deputy on the campaign and a longtime employee, to provide Kilimnik with updates on the Trump Campaign — including internal polling data, although Manafort claims not to recall that specific instruction. Manafort expected Kilimnik to share that information with others in Ukraine," the Mueller report read.
"The Office could not reliably determine Manafort's purpose in sharing internal polling data with Kilimnik during the campaign period."
Still, a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation report in August went further and identified Kilimnik as a Russian intelligence officer.
"The committee found that Manafort's presence on the campaign and proximity to Trump created opportunities for the Russian intelligence services to exert influence over, and acquire confidential information on, the Trump campaign," the report read.
Thursday's sanctions prohibit businesses and individuals to transact with the parties involved.
"As a result of today's designations, all property and interests in property of these targets that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them," the statement concluded.
"Additionally, any entities 50 percent or more owned by one or more designated persons are also blocked. In addition, financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with the sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to secondary sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action."