Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s handing of polling data to a Russian national linked to Russian intelligence is no big deal, according to Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney to the president.
Speaking to the New York Daily News, Giuliani said the move was inconsequential and does not prove collusion, because polling data is “not a state secret.”
“Polling data is not a state secret,” the former New York mayor told the Daily News in his first comment on the matter. “You can hand it out to anybody you want, nothing wrong with that.”
Giuliani, who serves as President Trump’s top attorney in the special counsel investigation, added, “It’s a joke. He gave out polling data, so what?”
What became of the polling data — or whether it is evidence of a quid pro quo for Russian assistance — remains unclear, but Manafort reportedly gave the information to his former employee, Konstantin Kilimnik, with the intent that it would be passed on to two Ukrainian oligarchs who owed him money.
Kilmnik was indicted along side Manafort by special counsel Robert Mueller for obstructing the Russia investigation "by tampering with witnesses and withholding evidence."
Pressed on Kilimnik’s criminal charges and extensive ties to Russian intelligence, Giuliani conceded, “you shouldn’t be talking to people like that.”
“But,” Giulaini continued, “he only gave him polling data. That’s handed out all the time. Everybody has polling data…You have to be a real jackass to not know that.”