Just days after the 2016 presidential election, Palmer Report began documenting that the voting results in key swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania were suspicious to the point of being nearly mathematically impossible. The odds were infinitesimal that Trump would have won precisely the states he needed in order to pull off a deeply upside-down Electoral College victory, and that Trump would have won them all by just above the margin required to avoid automatic recounts.
At the time, we didn’t know why these results were so off the mark; we only knew that something was very wrong. Then came one media report after another in 2017 about the role that Russian government hackers tried to play in the 2016 election. Then came the 2018 report from the Senate Intelligence Committee which revealed that Russian hackers managed to breach voter registration databases in key swing states ahead of the 2016 election, and gained the ability to delete voter registration data.
Then came Robert Mueller’s court filings asserting Paul Manafort gave Trump campaign internal polling data to confirmed former Russian spy and alleged current Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik. Now today we have this stunning passage from the Mueller report, which sheds more light on the matter: “Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the state of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s plan to win the election. That briefing encompassed the Campaign’s messaging and its internal polling data. According to [Trump campaign vice chair Rick] Gates, it also included discussion of ‘battleground’ states, which Manafort identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.”
So now we know that an alleged Russian spy with ties to Vladimir Putin was seeking information from the Trump campaign about how it was performing in four specific states – three of which inexplicably ended up being won by Donald Trump – even as Russian government hackers were breaching the voter registration databases in those states.
Robert Mueller’s report says that he didn’t pursue what happened with that internal Trump campaign data after the campaign gave it to the Russian government, because other entities like the FBI are investigating the matter. We doubt the Russians sought out this oddly specific internal information from the Trump campaign out of mere curiosity. Something wasn’t right in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – and the Mueller report just confirmed as much.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report