(FOX 9) - Minnesota was brought up in a 2016 meeting between President Donald Trump’s imprisoned former campaign chairman and an indicted Russian operative, according to the now-released report into Russian interference in that year’s presidential election.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report finds no evidence that President Trump conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 campaign. It does not exonerate him of obstructing justice, detailing how his efforts to block the investigation were unsuccessful because aides refused to carry out his orders.
The single mention of Minnesota comes buried in details of an Aug. 2, 2016 dinner meeting involving then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a Russian operative named Konstantin Kilimnik.
Among the topics they discussed: the electoral battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.
Participants said they left the dinner separately “because they knew the media was tracking Manafort and wanted to avoid media reporting on his connections to Kilimnik,” the report indicates. Manafort later denied talking about the battleground states with the Russian operative.
The report does not say what Kilimnik did with the information, but Minnesota was among the states targeted with Russian-funded social media ads in the lead-up to the 2016 election. Kilimnik was indicted in 2018 as a result of the Mueller investigation; Manafort left the Trump campaign in August 2016 and was sentenced to prison time earlier this year for financial fraud.
Trump won Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, putting him over the top in Electoral College votes. He lost Minnesota so narrowly that he has said publicly, including earlier this week, that he would’ve won the state if he had given “one more speech” here.