Since his October indictment, many have wondered what Paul Manafort might have to offer Robert Mueller. While his charge counts were largely white-collar, few thought that Mueller would have ordered a SWAT-like raid on Manafort’s home last year for such small potatoes.
It is now reported that the former chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign enjoyed a long professional relationship with, Konstantin Kilimnik, a man connected to Russian intelligence. Special Counsel Robert Mueller says that Kilimnik, was still working with Russian intelligence well into in 2016 — when Donald Trump was running for president.
Manafort’s working relationship with Kilimnik extends back to 2005, when he “helped with Manafort’s clients in Ukraine.”
Last week, Mueller’s team made this information, saying that Kilimnik was still working with Russian intelligence when he was communicating with Paul Manafort and other members of the Trump team through October of 2016. To-date, this is the closest connection between Trump’s campaign staff and Russian intelligence.
While Mueller’s team continues to investigate 2016 Russian election meddling, it has expanded to cover President Donald Trump’s business transcations in Russia, and contacts between Trump campaign aides and Russians.
Manafort and Kilimnik also exchanged a series of emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, in which there was an offer of “help” from the Trump campaign. According to investigators, much found in the emails are “code words,” but they believe that Paul Manafort was offering to provide “private briefings” to Oleg Deripaska. Mr. Deripaska is reportedly very close with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to one of the U.S. diplomatic cables from 2006, leaked by WikiLeaks, Deripaska was referred to as “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis.”
According to The Washington Post:
The notes appear to be written in deliberately vague terms, with Manafort and his longtime employee, Konstantin Kilimnik, never explicitly mentioning Deripaska by name. But investigators believe that key passages refer to Deripaska, who is referenced in some places by his initials, “OVD,” according to people familiar with the emails. One email uses “black caviar,” a Russian delicacy, in what investigators believe is a veiled reference to payments Manafort hoped to receive from former clients.
Without a doubt, Trump has never wanted to fire anyone as much as he wants to fire Robert Mueller right now.