Manafort Was Pursuing a Ukrainian “Peace” Deal Well After He Was Charged for Lying about Being an Agent of Ukraine
Yesterday, the Mueller team submitted a highly redacted filing and set of exhibits substantiating their claim that Paul Manafort continued to lie during the period he was supposed to be cooperating with prosecutors.
Even aside from the heavy redaction, the filing is a bit confusing because it doesn’t follow the same order as the two prior filings (Mueller, Manafort) on Manafort’s lies and its parallel structure is weak. But it appears to be structured like this:
- Payment to/from Rebuilding America Now (0-series exhibits)
- Konstantin Kilimnik’s role in witness tampering (100-series exhibits)
- Interactions with Kilimnik (200-series exhibits)
- Discussions of the Ukraine Peace Deal
- One meeting
- Another meeting
- A 2018 proposal
- Manafort’s false statements (almost certainly about sharing polling data)
- Discussions of the Ukraine Peace Deal
- Another DOJ investigation (possibly that of Steve Calk) (300-series exhibits)
- Manafort’s contact with the Administration (400-series exhibits)
Also note the exhibits (which are mostly redacted) restart counting with each new section, as noted above. That said, descriptions of what appear to be the polling-sharing exhibits are in entirely redacted footnotes. The highest number exhibit pertaining to Manafort’s interactions with Kilimnik referred to in unredacted form in the filing is 221 (which pertains to the Ukraine peace plan), but the Kilimnik-related exhibits go through exhibit 238, with a skip at exhibit 237. By order, the discussion on page 21-22 of its filing almost certainly pertains to Manafort’s lies about sharing polling data, but the government isn’t even going to describe what are the 16 or 17 exhibits they have substantiating it.
Nevertheless, both the discussion and the exhibits make it clear that — contrary to Konstantin Kilimnik’s claims to the contrary — Manafort remained involved in efforts to push a “peace” plan in Ukraine at least until May 2018. For example, in February 2018, Manafort authored a document on a “New initiative for Peace.”
And this email appears to substantiate a discussion of Manafort’s active involvement in Ukrainian peace deals.
Significantly, the government seems to have sprung some of this on Manafort when he appeared before the grand jury (so therefore was in a position where his lawyers could not serve as direct witnesses). The government treats this October 26 grand jury appearance separately in their Ukraine discussion, and notes that Manafort “was asked in the grand jury about his work in 2018” on the subject. He had “not mentioned” it “during any of his twelve interviews and had said he had last discussed” what must be the peace initiative “in spring 2017” (possibly at the meeting in Madrid he also lied about). A witness testified that he was primarily responsible for drafting this “based … on directions given to him by Manafort” — though it’s clear that Kilimnik continued to offer his feedback, as an attachment to the above email reflects.
Remember: the government’s first public accusation that Kilimnik was a Russian agent came in a filing submitted in March 2018. Manafort continued to conspire (by witness tampering) and pitch peace deals with Kilimnik for over a month after that.
And that makes Manafort’s ongoing communications with the Administration more interesting. On that issue, too, Manafort was “confront[ed] with documents” during a grand jury appearance, at least two of which involved attempts to contact the Administration in May 2018, when we know Manafort was still working on a Ukraine peace plan. Two of the exhibits supporting ongoing efforts to reach out to the Administration included in yesterday’s filing date to May 2018. There’s a May 2018 Word document that Manafort authored and edited that discussed targeting (but that may also incorporate a Ukrainian tax filing).
The other document substantiating ongoing efforts to reach out to the Administration was a text exchange in the weeks after this document reflecting “targeting” got written, in which Manafort invited someone to use his name with Trump.
The government is clear in its filing that,
This is not a complete listing of such contacts Manafort had with Administration officials. Further, for the purpose of proving the falsity of Manafort’s assertions in this section, the government is not relying on communications that may have taken place, with Manafort’s consent, through his legal counsel.
It also refutes Manafort’s claim that, “Mr. Manafort was well aware that the Special Counsel’s attorneys and investigators had scrutinized all of his electronic communications” because “Mr. Manafort voluntarily produced numerous electronic devices and passwords at the request of the Government” by revealing that it had found more than 10 devices or documents for which Manafort hadn’t shared a password.
Defendant said in his pleading that he has provided electronic to the government. However, although he has provided some electronic data, passwords, and documents, in more than ten instances he did not provide passwords to access his electronic communications, thumb drives, or documents.
That is, there may be 10 documents or devices that Manafort tried to shield from the government, but which Manafort’s legendarily shitty OpSec failed to protect. If that’s true, they’re not telling him — or the public, yet — what he was trying to shield.
Indeed, unless I’m missing them or the discussions were redacted, the details provided in this filing address only lies told at about half of Manafort’s meetings with prosecutors (September 20, 21, October 1, 16) and a grand jury appearance on October 26 where they sprung both the 2018 peace efforts and 2018 communications on him. I believe there are no unredacted details about his three meetings on September 25, 26, and 27 or his grand jury appearance on November 2, a period when Mueller was also focused closely on Roger Stone. This filing doesn’t tell us whether Manafort told the truth in those sessions.
In any case, consider how insane this is. Manafort was charged with lying (and getting other people to lie) about his work with Ukraine on October 27, 2017. And yet Manafort appears to have continued that Ukraine-related work for another seven months, while he was supposed to be preparing for his first trial for evading taxes on the funds he earned in Ukraine. And while the government is not telling us what Manafort tried to engage the White House about during that period, timing-wise it may well be that he continued to try to engage the President’s top advisors in this period.
Some of the other evidence in Mueller’s filing makes it clear Manafort was still trying to clean up what appear to be clear campaign finance violations from the 2016 election (both in the form of illegal donations from foreigners and coordination between a SuperPAC and the campaign) as recently as last month. He has long known that Mueller has been watching every step of these parallel efforts. But he doesn’t seem to care.
Update: I’ve updated the post to reflect — as per several comments — that among the 10 things Manafort withheld passwords for may be devices, and so may reflect a much wider universe of documents that he doesn’t know whether they’ve accessed or not.
As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post.
When you’re in debt up to your eyeballs to creditors who collect the hard way, tunnel vision tends to make you ignore everything but getting out of it. Surprising, though, in that Paulie was probably having trouble paying just the vig.
Regardless, I should think Manafort was so compromised and in bed with his clients that he could not stop. Pity about the life sentence.
Not being a betting man, I always struggle trying to understand the technical meaning of the “the vig.” But glancing at my dictionary, it turns out to be a highly apt term, etymologically at least:
I only heard about the vig when I was much younger and it usually came from Italian descendants. Later it pops up in mafia movies.
The vigorish (always thought this was an Italian term) is the prize. It is on top of the return of capital plus the interest on a loan. It is an extra like a large tip and over 10% (sometimes 25%) of the loan. A very big tip for a loan shark.
Off subject but these speculations you all are making are reasonable inferences. Thanks.
This so perfectly portrays Manafort’s world view and the lens that clarified it and his voracious appetite. Like a figure in a Greek tragedy, it was his tragic flaw, his error in judgment. He was helpless to do anything other than what he did.
I believe the interest on such high-risk loans is compounded, which makes the total amount due climb like a rocket.
>Remember: the government’s first public accusation that Kilimnik was a Russian agent came in a filing submitted in March 2018. Manafort continued to conspire (by witness tampering) and pitch peace deals with Kilimnik for over a month after that.
Do you think Manafort was communicating with Rudy (who reps pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs), and that is why he suddenly became Trump’s most dedicated lawyer-mouthpiece, because of his own exposure/involvement? Or am I off into the weeds?
I haven’t seen anyone spell out the significance of the Ukraine Peace deal. Presumably the Peace Deal is a crucial step toward removing sanctions? I.e. Russia is putting forward a Peace Deal in order to convince the US that its crimea sanctions are no longer needed?
And where did the “peace plan” document go, the one that Sater and Cohen said/then unsaid that they placed on Flynn’s desk. I believe Flynn said that he had never received it.
parroting on old chestnut:
Paulie wanna crack here?
Nice. Regretfully I haven’t payment in kind to offer, just an appreciation of the punny arts.
it’s sometimes a ditty job, but someone’s go to do it!
If I’m reading the part about the withheld passwords correctly, isn’t Mueller potentially talking about many more than 10 documents?
“in more than ten instances he did not provide passwords to access his electronic communications, thumb drives, or documents.”
A password to access electronic communications or a thumb drive could potentially lead to thousands of documents on a single thumb drive or cloud account, right? If I’m not off track, that could be an entirely different order of magnitude of information.
In this circumstance, Paulie was a tool of Russia. Any Russian-inspired “peace plan” would exonerate Russia from taking by force a piece of the Ukraine, and give Russia whatever else it wanted. The US has experience doing that in Cuba and the Philippines c. 1900. Paulie’s job was to help garner international acceptance for that sort of plan.
On the US side, the Cuban treaty continues to cause considerable unrest, given that it was so one-sided and that the US kept a main Cuban port for its own exclusive use, somewhat mangling the peace from the Cuban perspective.
Any Russian-inspired peace plan, unmitigated by international involvement, is likely to be similarly one-sided.
Wasn’t the plan to bring back Yanukovych to lead in Russian enclaves?
In a response to Laura Rozen this morning, Marcy said:
…and links to this 2/23/17 article by Christopher Miller:
Who Is Paul Manafort’s Man In Kyiv? An Interview With Konstantin Kilimnik
Peace plan discussion towards the end.
Edited to add that I just remembered that she links to this article in the post above.
Thanks for another great post. I have a minor question – you write “That is, there may be 10 documents that Manafort tried to shield from the government,…” but the way I read the court filing, he didn’t reveal passwords to “documents, thumb drives, and electronic communications.” When I think about how much info and how many documents fit on even the smallest thumb drive, my sense is that there was potentially a LOT of communications and documents he was trying to withhold. Or am I reading it incorrectly?
I would just like to remind everyone that Putin didn’t make these deals JUST for the scenario that trump won. What if trump didn’t win? well, no one really thought he would…
So, again, if trump didn’t win, what was the Quo?
To claim election fraud? probably. That suggests, to probably just me, that Russian hackers could have planted information to support trump’s claims of fraud.
I think that’s right, yes, but the overarching point would (still) be to use Trump as an agent of chaos–it was gonna be the stepping stone to TrumpTV, remember?–working 24/7 to exacerbate existing divisions and helping to polarize-paralyze the US government, thus affording Putin and his Mafiya buds wider room for maneuver and establishing more faits accomplis in Ukraine, Syria etc. That plan was turbo-charged by the fact that their guy actually won. They seem to really be hitting the accelerator now.
This was going on at the same time as the Butina-NRA work and the outreach to evangelical leaders. Pretty clearly the Russians have been working on a takeover of the GOP. And Jill Stein and a few random lefties, for what it’s worth.
Maybe there was no other scenario than a Trump win. They were into the voting rolls. Do we know if they changed anything that would make anyone ineligible?
~80k votes across three states? That’s a few votes per precinct. Easy hack.
2-3 votes per precinct in Michigan. I checked at one point, that’s all it would have taken to obtain the 10K vote win margin.
But it was probably just information warfare that did it. We had a record undervote of 80K, more than enough to make up the win margin. The undervote could easily be explained by doubts planted via social media.
No, no it’s not.
The complexity of the task has zero correlation to the number of votes that would need to be altered. Quite the contrary. Because the administration of the elections process is highly decentralized, you have a situation where each voting system needs to be attacked separately. Each of those attacks needs to be customized to the particular organizational and technological choices of that target organization, and then you would need to find a way to coordinate those attacks because you’ve basically got to execute them all within a fairly narrow time window.
Indeed, even voting systems that are both electronic and janky (see: Diebold) frequently benefit from being disconnected from the Internet and therefore would need to be physically compromised in some fashion in order to execute the attack.
Now Trip’s question wasn’t about changing actual votes, it was about polluting the voter registration databases in some fashion or another. That would potentially have the effect of suppressing votes rather than changing them outright. There is certainly a risk of such a thing happening, but it would be difficult for that to go unnoticed.
Consider the relevations in North Carolina’s 9th district. How was that initially spotted? There were statistical anomalies in absentee registration and turnout that prompted a more in-depth investigation, and shenanigans were uncovered. Those same techniques would be very much capable of uncovering and revealing the suppression of 80k votes across three states, especially considering the extensive post-election investigation that has been conducted by state and federal authorities since Nov. 2016.
Finally, please keep in mind that in order to alter 80,000 actual votes, you have to muck up a substantially larger number of voter registrations. Not all registered voters will vote, and not all voters will vote for Hillary. If you accidentally suppress voters who never show up, you’ve done nothing. If you accidentally suppress Trump voters, you’ve moved the needle in the wrong direction.
Part of what Russia is trying to do (and has a better chance of succeeding with) is undermining the credibility of our electoral system. Please don’t help that along with glib overconfidence.
Could the devices on which information was encrypted include the notorious iPods?
They could be. But those iPod touches are old. Probably 4/4s old, which runs max iOS 9 that doesn’t secure the filesystem.
The exploits for accessing those are widely available, and the FBI definitely has means to break them.
Where I live there are still only 24 hours in a day. If only Marcy could appear on television, in prime time, with some nationally credited talking head asking the questions she wants to answer…
Absolutely in awe of Ms Wheeler!
You mean Dr. Wheeler, right? She has a PhD.
Oh, I’m happy to go by Ms. or even just Marcy.
A rose by any other name…
Thx muchly for the scent of sense (common and otherwise)
Namaste! In perpetual awe of the incredible Ms Marcy Wheeler, PhD, genius, patriot, Patron Saint of potty mouths. Long may she infuse the internet with forceful facts interspersed with tastefully profane humor.
Regardless of the outcome from this Capone-like prosecution for tax evasion, I hope the license to kill for White Collar criminality will no longer be the soft touch many have enjoyed with impunity. It’s time for hard time to be dished out to these privileged knuckleheads.
If I was writing this as a screenplay, there’d be a scene where the intrepid investigator is disconcerted by the suspect’s lack of concern for the consequences of faking cooperation in his plea deal. “Maybe he just thinks he’s gonna get a pardon,” the junior sidekick suggests. “Yeah maybe, But what if it’s more than that….” And yup, in the screenplay or version, the suspect knows he’s playing for much bigger stakes, in a much bigger plot that is going to reshuffle everything–the whole national and international order after a deliberately caused period of chaos, from which President Evilhair will emerge with authoritarian powers not unlike those of his spymaster–let’s just call him Putrin– to blow this whole thing away, and that will entrench him and his Mafiya billionaire backer–let’s just call him Mogilevichsky–at the core of world power in a crime-lords-take-over-the-world scenario. The rewards for helping to engineer that outcome will vastly outweigh any temporary inconvenience the suspect has to undergo in the short term.
Fortunately you’d only be able to get away with a plot that grandiosely paranoid in some binge-bait Netflix series, never in reality.
Um… yeah… THIS.
I do hope that your last sentence is correct. Or that the those folks who still believe in quaint things like you know, democracy, rule of law, due process and equal justice manage to expose this plot for what it is and save the day. That would be a nice ending.
Horror SF genre. But an astute reader of your screenplay would have to wonder why s/he was still alive to read this and that it was allowed to be published.
Shirley all evidence of this coup would have been cleansed before this was put in a tragedy/comedy play.
Of course the 1930 nazis were great chroniclers of their terrors; perhaps the axis of putin/trump think also that they will be the obvious owners of the universe and can publish whatever they want.
Don’t call me Surely.
Mitt’s failure to get on board with this one is only going to feed the standard attack on him of “trying to have it both ways” vis a vis anything he might be shooting for in 2020.
What’s the end game here for you conspiracy theorists? It’s becoming increasingly obvious that there never was anything to the entire Russiagate story and that at some point this will come out publicly like Iraqi WMDs. What do you do then? You spent two years peddling silly lies… the what?
Are you going to start back-peddling at some point or hit the wall at one hundred miles an hour? Are you going to be like people who still claim Iraq really had WMDs?
I think your best bet is something like what professor Turley suggests: You can blame Trump for making you all THINK he was a deep Russian agent by “acting suspiciously” or some crap.
Man, I don’t know how we’ve approved 20 or so of your crackpot comments so far. I’m letting this one through just so the rest of the community can see what kind of nonsense we deal with.
Go ahead and delude yourself. You have plenty of company. In the mean time Individual-1 has and continues to violate laws; though he just happens to have a lot of Russian friends hanging around encouraging him, he’s screwing himself and us along with him.
Have a nice salad why don’t you.
Thanks, mods, for filtering out this stuff.
I once had a job where I dealt with a lot of incoming communications, including things from kooks, and it’s a bit unnerving to think of the people like this who are out there.
On the plus side, they’re a clear minority — most people have far more well grounded concerns.
That’s a big load of CT right there.
How would you like that crow prepared: wrapped in wrapped in thin, unleavened dough like pelmeni?
YES. Mushroom pelmeni for me, please.
I feel like I just ate a big bag of shrooms after reading that. Sheesh.
Hi Steve! Still drawing on your head?
HAHAHA, Rusharuse. Thanks for the needed laugh.
Ah blow it out yr ass buh-byron.
Ooof. “David Byron” … You left this “comment” here and cited that twit Turley for it??
This is on me. I have been busy this week. Jesus. Don’t pull that nonsense here.
I thought you’d enjoy that especially flaky piece. What a shame it’s not pie.
…and all along I thought bmaz was the crusty one
(*ducks for cover*)
“He has long known that Mueller has been watching every step of these parallel efforts. But he doesn’t seem to care.”
It seems more likely that he doesn’t have either the competence or resources to counter or hide his actions from Mueller, than that he doesn’t care. He, in all likelihood realized that he was cooked on what he was already charged with, and that playing defense was a losing proposition. So a panicked doubling down on offense & pursuing the goals of his sponsors seemed like his best shot (to him).
More like a series of desperation “Hail Mary” passes, with no idea of defense.
On the other side of the table, I’m a bit unclear why Kilimnik seem to have kept up some contact well after Manafort was arrested. I’m not sure why the Russians didn’t distance themselves for the sake of appearances. I can’t imagine Manafort would have provided them with any special level of expertise once he was in jail and under surveillance.
Likewise with the Trump administration people he was in touch with. All I can think of is that they felt feeding him some contact may have been helpful in stringing him along and reducing the chances that he might do a hard flip. It’s not something that looks good once it’s revealed, though, and they must have known that Mueller was eventually going to spell out the ongoing communications with Manafort.
I think given the destruction of the Justice Dept under DT, perhaps the Russian thought it was entirely possible that even if Mueller did figure this all out, the info would never see the light of day, Paulie would be pardoned, most of the criminals would get off scott free, having already played their hand to get a deal with Mueller, and in the end, they might be able to keep doing business together, under a Pence presidency. I dont think they care that DT goes down in the end – they’ve got plenty of Republican scum to do their bidding still.
I think he’s not trying because he wants to be caught. He wants to be protected in US prison — not safe but likely safer than the outside world (from poisoned tea, etc).
OT, but Marcy are you going to do a post on the money laundering through Rebuliding America Now? That’s kind of a big deal. If anyone is familiar with the Eric Greitens case, essentially the same setup seems to be in play there too. Interestingly enough, Nick Ayers, Pence’s current chief of staff, was the mastermind behind that setup. He’s kind of a Paul Manafort in training.
You do realize she already has more than enough on her plate, don’t you?
And we, as a swarm, unforgivably voracious…
I think Manafort’s ongoing work on the so-called “Peace Plan” which is really the “get sanctions lifted” plan answers a question we’ve all been asking: Who is paying Manafort’s legal bills since he’s broke? Seems obvious that Manafort is getting both carrot and stick from his Russian handlers. Plus, why not continue if you’ve been told you have final impunity because the President will pardon you? Better to live another day and hope for that pardon that drink a cup of polonium tea.
Re: Willis Warren @ 12:49 pm above (Reply kaput) — I can also imagine Trump thinking that he would in all likelihood not win the Presidency in 2016 and so would never be in a position of real power to have to make good on whatever commitments he may have made to the Russians.
@ PJ and Rayne above: conveniently enveloped in tin foil, of course.
@Trip, yes, that’s true. BUT, he would have been in perfect position to bitch and moan through Clinton’s entire presidency, all from his new Moscow hotel
Looking at the public schedule outside DC for the week after May 26:
May 29: Nashville for Marsha Blackburn
May 31: Houston and Dallas to meet Santa Fe shooting survivors and hold fundraisers.
Please follow @KimsMom3…
Hers is a lonely path in our neighborhood.
OT: From the dailybeast today…Cambridge Analytica and SCL weren’t alone. And It wasn’t just the Chef’s Kremlin trolls either.
Rick Gates Tells Mueller About Trump Team’s Dealings With Israeli Intelligence Firm
That might explain the payment Nader made and why Bolton was brought on. Of course Netanyahu would like this idea.
Aside: I found some earlier reports which stated that Steve Miller was also at the meeting August 3, with Zamel.
And another firm…
Maybe this is what the limited hangout is hiding
I think there’s a strong likelihood that there are domestic players in the mix — the PR firm trolls for hire who show up during climate change and gun control debates most likely were hired in 2016 by dark money firms.
I don’t know whether any of that would count as illegal these days, though.
Are we any closer to understanding Manafort’s notes from the TT meeting?
Offshore — Cyprus
Not invest — loan
Value in Cyprus as inter
Active sponsors of RNC
Browder hired Joanna Glover
Tied into Cheney
Russian adoption by American families
“There’s a May 2018 Word document that Manafort authored and edited that discussed targeting”
I’m not clear–are we talking about military targeting here, in a proposed Ukraine deal?
@Richard G: I believe we’re talking about political campaign targeting.
There has been discussion here about undermining McTurtle and opening up the senate based on the political pressure on vulnerable neo-Nazi senators in 2020. I have pushed back on this explaining that there is not time to go through the institutional process before that comes from the people in the street. After the blocking of the sanctions vote, I am here to add that I believe that the shutdown is part of the coup and it’s purpose is to break the system before there can be anything like a national vote in 2020. “We” as a people have been many steps behind this coup since 2015 and there is no way of protecting “us” without confronting it nationally state by state in the streets and demanding state legislatures and governors to unite in condemnation. This is exactly what the Nazis have been setting up and I believe we have just a few weeks if not days before the whistle blows for the endgame. As bmaz will tell you, I am a terrible sports prognosticator so let’s hope I’m completely wrong here too. Namaste people, it’s time to stand up.
There is time for every approach. There is too little time *not* to try every approach.
Thank you Rayne, I agree.
Exactly! Trump was always a useful idiot for laundering who’s been turned into an agent of chaos. Whether they rigged the voting roles in key states as palmerreport alleges or never really expected him to win is hard to say
In the end, we can’t truly know if he’s done more damage as president (god knows, it’s beyond measure!) than he might have if he lost and launched Trump TV
In the latter scenario he (Trump org included) might never have been subjected to the spotlight and deep level investigatory work currently ongoing and he may have been a useful mouthpiece constantly stoking fear, anger, racism, mysogny, and on and on…
In our current scenario, presuming he goes down hard via impeachment or resignation and the Republican party does too we may be better off? Trump and the GOP would be exposed for the greatest of all scandals and the electorate brought to life in a way we haven’t been in my lifetime. If a new party forms or the Democrats finally foresake their corporate owners and serve the people we might just make the kind of progress that could give us a fighting chance against the real emergency coming our way in climate change
As depressing as it is to think of Trump as an agent of positive change, it’s not too late for us to make him one
Damn, I need a drink, this whole post sounds like a ridiculously naive pipe dream on reread!
Nice to see you again, thanks for your comment. Please be sure to use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you.
Thanks Rayne, will do. This will be my username go forward
I’m very late on this thread. ‘bin trying to do some work. But I agree completely. If Hillary had won we would just be on a slower path to disaster, as any progressive agenda would probably have been stuck permanently in endless political and civil litigation.
Perhaps the whole world has a chance if Trumpism, the overt in the White house and the covert in the Republican party (The Grand Old Party it no longer is), and the whole sell out to uber-capitalism is finally exposed for the complete con-job it is and always has been.
Keep it up AOC, expose these corrupt bastards #WheresMitch
Glad you got the work done and of course to hear I’m not the only one who believes this all may be a necessary evil!
They say “it’s always darkest before the dawn” but I believe only if we stand up make sure a new day rises