Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Former Trump strategist Paul Manafort worked closely during the 2016 campaign with a man described as a "Russian intelligence officer," a report Tuesday by the Senate intelligence committee concluded.
The 966-page bipartisan report said Manafort -- who is now serving a seven-year prison sentence related to the Justice Department's Russia investigation -- maintained a close relationship with Russian national Konstantin Kilimnik, who it names as a Russian intelligence officer.
Titled "Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities," the report is the fifth and final volume of the Senate committee's Russia inquiry -- and in some areas mirrors that of special counsel Robert Mueller, but exceeds it in scope.
The report says Kilimnik, an aide to pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, became an "integral part of Manafort's operations in Ukraine and Russia" and was Manafort's "primary liaison" to Deripaska. He eventually managed Manafort's office in Kyiv.
"Kilimnik and Manafort formed a close and lasting relationship that endured to the 2016 U.S. elections and beyond," the report states.
The Senate committee determined that Manafort sought to hand over sensitive internal polling data and campaign strategy to Kilimnik during the campaign, although investigators were unable to determine what the Russian operative did with the information.
In another finding, the committee said Kilimnik "may have been connected" to the Russian hacking and leaking of Democratic emails.
"Taken as a whole, Manafort's high level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services, particularly Kilimnik and associates of Oleg Deripaska, represented a grave counterintelligence threat," the committee wrote.
Manafort, 71, was sentenced to prison for tax evasion, fraud and witness tampering in connection with Mueller's investigation. He was allowed in May to leave prison to serve the rest of his sentence in home confinement due to threats associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Senate report said investigators found evidence that then-Republican candidate Donald Trump and top campaign officials had approached conservative strategist Roger Stone for information about WikiLeaks' pending release of the damaging emails that had been stolen by Russian hackers.
"At their direction, Stone took action to gain inside knowledge for the campaign and shared his purported knowledge directly with Trump and senior campaign officials on multiple occasions," the report says.
Mueller's investigation found last year that there was no hard evidence that Trump's campaign had colluded with Russian actors before the election. It did note, however, numerous "episodes" in which Trump may have obstructed justice as president. He was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House last December on a similar charge but was acquitted in the Republican-held Senate.
"We found no evidence of 'collusion,'" Sen. Marco Rubio, the intelligence committee's acting chairman, tweeted.
"At nearly 1,000 pages, Volume 5 stands as the most comprehensive examination of ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign to date -- a breathtaking level of contacts between Trump officials and Russian government operatives that is a very real counterintelligence threat to our elections," ranking Democrat Sen. Mark Warner said in a statement. "This cannot happen again."