Manafort Lied to Mueller About His Interactions With a Russian Agent

On Friday, Robert Mueller released the memo outlining how Paul Manafort had breached his plea agreement by lying to the special prosecutor. The documents sums up those lies with this:

The principal lies relate to, among other things: (1) Manafort’s interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik; (2) Kilimniks participation in count two of the superseding information; (3) a wire transfer to a firm that was working for Manafort; (4) information pertinent to another Department of Justice investigation; and (5) Manafort’s contact with Administration officials.

The document goes on to provide more in-depth information about each of those lies. But as we saw with the Michael Flynn sentencing memo, information directly related to the criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians has been redacted as part of the ongoing investigation. In this case, that applies to almost everything related to number 1 above about Manafort’s interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik.

Kilimnik is Russian-Ukrainian political consultant who worked with Manafort in Ukraine for years and eventually earned the title “Manafort’s Manafort.” Interestingly enough, the most explosive thing we’ve learned about Kilimnik came from Robert Mueller.

…in two separate fillings, [Mueller] has referred to an unnamed colleague of Manafort’s, identified only as “Person A,” with “ties to Russian intelligence.” In a brief Mueller submitted to a U.S. District Court in the course of pressing his case against Manafort, he went one step further. Citing FBI special agents, the special prosecutor described Person A’s ties to Russian intelligence as “active” through the 2016 presidential election.

What everyone close to Paul Manafort already knew, and what The New York Times and other outlets later confirmed, is that Mueller was pseudonymously describing none other than Konstantin Kilimnik. Or to put it even more bluntly than Mueller: Donald Trump’s campaign chairman had a pawn of Russian intelligence as his indispensable alter ego.

We also know that Kilimnik played the role of messenger between Manafort and the Russian oligarch he owed $18.9 million. A series of emails between the two right after Manafort got the job as Trump’s campaign manager begin with him saying this (“OVD” refers to Russian oligarch Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska):

“I assume you have shown our friends my media coverage, right?” Manafort wrote.

“Absolutely,” Kilimnik responded a few hours later from Kiev. “Every article.”

“How do we use to get whole,” Manafort asks. “Has OVD operation seen?”

So the heavily redacted portions of Mueller’s memo having to do with Manafort’s lies about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik are related to someone:

  • Mueller has already told us was an active Russian intelligence agent.
  • Manafort was communicating with on a regular basis while working on the Trump campaign.
  • Manafort was using as a messenger to help him “get whole” on his debt to Oleg Deripaska via his work on the Trump campaign.

That is just the information about the Manafort-Kilimnik interactions that are already publicly available. We’ll have to wait and see how the special counsel connects all the dots.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .