Manafort Connections Raise New Questions

Paul Manafort’s lawyers revealed new information about his connection to Konstantin Kilimnik in poorly-redacted court papers released today. Here are the key takeaways:


  1. Kilimnik, who has ties to Russian intelligence, met Manafort in Madrid during the 2016 presidential campaign. Manafort and Kilimnik additionally met in New York City at least twice in 2016 and discussed the presidential campaign and the situation in Ukraine.


NBC News: “The redacted section also says that Manafort initially told investigators that he hadn’t met with Kilimnik in Madrid but the longtime GOP operative later admitted to the meeting after being told Kilimnik was there the same day.”


CNBC: “Mueller has previously alleged that Kilimnik has ‘ties to a Russian intelligence service and had such ties in 2016,’ the same year during which Manafort acted as chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign.”


Washington Post: “At the Grand Havana Room, one of New York City’s most exclusive cigar bars, the longtime acquaintances ‘talked about bills unpaid by our clients, about [the] overall situation in Ukraine . . . and about the current news,’ including the presidential campaign, according to a statement provided by Kilimnik, offering his most detailed account of his interactions with the former Trump adviser. Kilimnik, who provided a written statement to The Washington Post through Manafort’s attorney, said the previously unreported dinner was one of two meetings he had with Manafort on visits to the United States during Manafort’s five months working for Trump.”


  1. Manafort shared campaign polling data with Kilimnik. This draws a direct line between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.


Washington Post: “Paul Manafort shared 2016 presidential campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former employee whom the FBI has said has ties to Russian intelligence, according to a court filing. The apparently inadvertent revelation indicates a pathway by which the Russians could have had access to Trump campaign data.”


  1. Manafort and Kilimnik continually discussed a Ukrainian peace plan. Kilimnik previously suggested that he played a role in changing the RNC platform on Ukraine, and Michael Cohen hand-delivered a Ukraine peace plan from a Russian business associate to Michael Flynn shortly after Trump was sworn in as president.


NBC News: “The court papers also include poorly redacted lines that say Manafort and Kilimnick discussed a ‘Ukraine peace plan’ on more than one occasion.”


Politico: “And, after a late summer trip to the U.S., Kilimnik suggested that he had played a role in gutting a proposed amendment to the Republican Party platform that would have staked out a more adversarial stance towards Russia, according to a Kiev operative.”


New York Times: “Mr. Flynn is gone, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.”