"The Mueller team met pollster Tony Fabrizio in February 2018, an interview that has not yet been reported and that takes on new meaning after Manafort 's lawyers revealed Tuesday that it' s not the same thing. Mueller's team was still interested in how Manafort shared survey data with his Russian colleague.

"CNN reporters saw Fabrizio leave the special council office on February 1 of last year and have since confirmed that he had met with Mueller's team." At that time, the council had searched Manafort's finances and political work before his trial. "

Big, big deal.

But wait, you say, we already knew that Mueller was looking at the 2016 campaign and the possible links between it and Russia! And he already had people lIke George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn Admitting that they were not totally honest in their testimony about the nature and extent of their interactions with the Russians! And we already knew that Manafort – with Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner – had met Russians, including Natalia Veselnitskaya, at the Trump Tower in June 2016, a meeting that had been organized under the auspices of an attack on the part of Russians against Hillary Clinton. !

And I will say that you are absolutely right! We already knew all that!

But here's what President Donald Trump could say about this week: There was never a smell of collusion between the Russians and any serious person in my country. Most of these people who pleaded guilty nevhad heard of before. Manafort was the campaign chairman, yes, but everything he did wrong happened long before he was affiliated with my campaign.

He just can not say that much anymore. We know not only that Mueller knows that Manafort was discussing – and sharing survey data with – Konstantin Kilimnik – while he was at the head of Trump's campaign, we also know that Mueller spoke to him. Investigator with whom Manafort could very well have taken those figures that he shared with Kilimnik. (A source familiar with the situation told CNN that Fabrizio was not aware of what Manafort had done with all the interrogation data.)

Before leaving for Texas, Trump said Thursday that he "knew nothing at all" of Manafort's relationship with Kilimnik – or the fact that his campaign chairman had shared survey data with the pollster. Russian. And there is no public evidence yet that Manafort ever told Trump that he was talking to Kilimnik, let alone sharing poll numbers and discussing Ukraine and Russia.

And sharing the numbers of a poll with a Russian is not a direct collusion – although the timing for the Manafort conversations, which took place shortly before Russia hacked the servers of the Democratic National Committee and extracted the emails that were finally posted on the WikiLeaks website, is suspicious. the least.

The most general point here is that the news earlier this week about Manafort's conversations with Kilimnik has changed the game. This is no longer what Manafort did before even entering Trump 's orbit. The conversation is now about what Manafort did while serving as the senior Trump campaigner.

The news from Fabrizio clearly indicates, once again, a) how much better than Mueller knows more than us, b) how long he has known (the team of legal advisers interviewed Fabrizio LAST in February) and c ) how good it is with the best Trump employees and helpers.

Trump can continue to say that the Mueller probe is a hoax and a witch hunt. But the more we know about what Mueller knows – and knew – the president's mockery seems credible.