If Paul Manafort did actually pass along secret polling data to the Russians in an effort to aid them in an information warfare campaign during the 2016 election, would that rise to the level of treason? Malcolm Nance seems to think so and he dropped this bomb on The Beat With Ari Melber on Wednesday, just one day after the incorrectly redacted filing went public, allowing anyone with a computer to copy and paste the text, revealing the blacked out text.
Oh, in the filing, Manafort's lawyers admit that he shared presidential campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian "political consultant" with alleged ties to Russian Intelligence.
And as a refresher, since this word is being used for one of the first times, treason is defined as:
The crime of betraying one's country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government.
Here is a bit of what Nance had to say about the revelations that emerged from the Manafort filing:
MELBER: That is the reaction. Meanwhile, new details emerging about Paul Manafort leaking data developed by a private polling firm that worked for the Trump campaign which was then given to Ukrainian oligarchs. Malcolm Nance is an MSNBC terror analyst and the author of "The Plot to Destroy America" and Michael McFaul. Good evening to you both. Malcolm, I wonder what you think given the intersection of the Mueller probe and counterintelligence issues you focus on, what does it say to you that Rod Rosenstein both is preparing to leave but says basically through leaks that he would do it when Mueller is done?
NANCE: I'm not sure whether Rosenstein is going to be leaving as fast as people think. But I think that maybe if he's going to leave at all, he's going to leave when one key aspect of this investigation is finished. And if the new filings that we saw with Paul Manafort are any indica Robert Mueller has found the bridge between Russian intelligence and the Trump campaign. And all that is left -- again, we don't know anything that Robert Mueller knows. We're only finding this out through Manafort's filing and the error they made. But what we most likely are going to see here is that at some point, that information, that polling data that Manafort gave them was handed off to the Russians and somehow worked back into the Russian information warfare operation against states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. If Robert Mueller comes out with that, then you have conspiracy, just one legal letter shy of the word treason. If that comes to be, it will be very fascinating.
MELBER: What you just laid out is not what we know yet, as I think you yourself acknowledge, but it is what is seemingly so significant because, on the one hand, if you're Paul Manafort and handed off some information, political operatives are famous for bragging about all kinds of stuff. You wouldn't need to lie about it. You might mention "yeah, I sent this to that e-mail, promotional materials." You might even say "I referred to all kinds of campaign stuff, but there was nothing wrong with it." What does it seem to tell you this sophisticated international operator, even after flipping, according to Mueller, and that's the allegation, wanted to commit a new crime and hide the fact that he had given off this polling?
NANCE: Well, you know, when you're dealing with things coming out of the Mueller investigation, you have to do intelligence analysis like i'm trying to do. Mueller is like a black hole in space. And we're seeing with all of these filings, these little bits of data, we're seeing things pulled to the center, and we know something is there that has a gravity of force greater than all the rest. And by seeing that, by seeing what we -- what little we know right now, we can Manafort feels that he has to hide this information away from the Special Counsel, which means he fears something greater than prosecution in the United States court system. Whether he owed Oleg Deripaska some money or he knows the information that is found here is absolutely criminal and there is no way out of it. He felt he had to lie about it. When you get to that point, all that does is make those counterintelligence dogs at the FBI sniff harder and start chasing down the leads with greater intensity.
It looks like collusion or even conspiracy may not be the former Trump Campaign Manager's only problem. Treason gets you life in prison without parole -- or even the death penalty.