The Ongoing Investigation into Paul Manafort’s Handlers

In this post, I noted that 22 months after Andrew Weissmann’s team wrote a 37-page report, plus a classified supplement, describing what they had learned about Paul Manafort’s role in the 2016 election operation, SSCI dedicated 142 pages of their 966 page report on the counterintelligence threat posed by Trump’s former campaign manager. The latter report, which had fewer investigative tools and relied heavily on the earlier effort, just stuck classified information right into the text and then redacted great swaths of it.

Among the things known to but redacted by SSCI in 2020 but not included in the unclassified parts of the Team M Report in 2018 are:

In other words, by 2020, investigators working with derivative investigative tools found a great deal of evidence to suggest that Deripaska and Kilimnik were not only centrally involved in Russia’s intelligence operation targeting the US in 2016, but also a concerted plan to undermine in the investigation into it after the fact.

Around about the time SSCI finished their report, the FBI offered a $250,000 reward leading to Kilimnik’s arrest.

All that is why I’m interested that the Team M Report, released in 2022, after the statute of limitations has expired on most crimes tied to the 2016 election (though not a conspiracy that continued after it), was released with so many b7A redactions reflecting an ongoing investigation.

I’ve put a list of them all below.

There are three redactions I find particularly remarkable.


The treatment of Pericles, the investment fund that Manafort set up and Deripaska funded in 2007, is uneven among the four stories that tell Manafort’s story (it is mentioned in passing in the breach litigation). A paragraph introducing it in the Mueller Report serves to set up Rick Gates’ explanation that Manafort’s outreach to Deripaska during the campaign was an effort to settle Deripaska’s lawsuit relating to the fund. There’s a bit more in the SSCI Report, including the detail that while Kilimnik initially served as Manafort’s point of contact for the deal, Manafort later tried to hide aspects of it from him so as to hide it from the other Oligarchs. There’s a redacted paragraph as well, perhaps tied to the funding.

Pericles may be the one topic which the Team M Report dedicates more space to than the SSCI Report. After introducing the fund, a heavily-redacted paragraph, including a b7A exemption, describes the dispute that arose between Manafort and Deripaska. Then two of the lettered footnotes the Team M Report used to describe context are also redacted under a b7A redaction. There’s also a paragraph redacted using only a b5 (deliberative process) exemption describing the dispute.

Remember: That dispute was a key part of Deripaska’s double game in 2016, a way to make Manafort more insecure even as squeezing him to get cooperation on the campaign. Christopher Steele played a (as far as is known, unwitting) role in that double game, so if Deripaska injected the dossier with disinformation, that’s likely how he did so. But it’s the 13-year old business arrangement itself, and not the 6-year old exploitation of it, that remains redacted in the Team M Report as part of an ongoing investigation.

The August 2 Meeting

Then consider how the passage on the August 2, 2016 meeting between Manafort and Kilimnik appears in the Team M Report (as released under FOIA).

The story of the Havana Bar meeting is one that got told in depth by the Breach Litigation, the Mueller Report, and the SSCI Report — indeed, it was a central focus of the Breach Litigation, one that particularly impressed Judge Amy Berman Jackson. The Mueller Report provided a 3-page description that is, with just two exceptions, redacted only with grand jury redactions. The Mueller Report version describes the three topics discussed at the meeting this way:

As to the contents of the meeting itself, the accounts of Manafort and Gates–who arrived late to the dinner–differ in certain respects. But their version of events, when assessed alongside available documentary evidence and what Kilimnik told business associate Sam Patten, indicate that at least three principal topics were discussed.

In addition to redacting, under a b7A redaction, what else, besides campaign headquarters, was across the street from the Havana Club (possibly in Trump Tower), the Team M Report redacts much of the discussion about the differences between the three stories. Even the description of the three versions are structured differently.

The bulk of Manafort’s story — four and a half pages — focuses on the plan to carve up Ukraine, including the follow-up efforts made over the following two years. There’s an explicit reference — the only unredacted such reference within the body of the report — to more of the story appearing in the classified appendix. And just a short paragraph, partially redacted under a b7A exemption, discusses Manafort explaining to Kilimnik how he planned to win swing states.

Gates’ version focuses more on Manafort’s attempts to get paid (which may not appear in Manafort’s version at all). Whatever discussion Gates provided of the Ukraine plan is redacted under b7A; the most recent release of Gates’ 302s also redacts a lot about the August 2 meeting, including the cover story he told before he started cooperating.

Patten’s version of the meeting — which reflects what Kilimnik told Patten after the fact — is even more redacted than the Gates version in the Team M report. Those redacted passages may redact discussions that appear redacted in the most recent release of Patten’s 302s but which were cited in unredacted form in the SSCI Report. According to that, Manafort told Kilimnik that the way to win was to focus on increasing Hillary’s negatives.

Patten’s debriefing with the SCO provides the most granular account of what information Kilimnik obtained at the August 2, 2016 meeting:

Kilimnik told Patten that at the New York cigar bar meeting, Manafort stated that they have a plan to beat Hillary Clinton which included Manafort bringing discipline and an organized strategy to the campaign. Moreover, because Clinton’s negatives were so low [sic]-if they could focus on her negatives they could win the election. Manafort discussed the Fabrizio internal Trump polling data with Kilimnik, and explained that Fabrizio ‘s polling numbers showed that the Clinton negatives, referred to as a ‘therm poll, ‘ were high. Thus, based on this polling there was a chance Trump could win. 458

If that’s what does appear in the Team M Report, it remains redacted, in part under an ongoing investigation exemption. It focuses on the election, not the effort to carve up Ukraine.

Incidentally, the SSCI Report reveals one detail no other source I know did: Manafort met with Rudy and Trump before he went to meet Kilimnik. As the SSCI Report notes, this also happens to be the day before Stone started pitching Manafort on a way to save the candidate.

March, April, and May 2016

As noted above, the SSCI Report has heavily redacted passages discussing activities involving Kilimnik and Deripaska in March and April 2016. They don’t show up in the unclassified part of the Team M Report or the Mueller Report at all.

The May 2016 meeting between Manafort and Kilimnik does appear in the Mueller Report, though.

Manafort twice met with Kilimnik in person during the campaign period—once in May and again in August 2016. The first meeting took place on May 7, 2016, in New York City.905 In the days leading to the meeting, Kilimnik had been working to gather information about the political situation in Ukraine. That included information gleaned from a trip that former Party of Regions official Yuriy Boyko had recently taken to Moscow—a trip that likely included meetings between Boyko and high-ranking Russian officials.906 Kilimnik then traveled to Washington, D.C. on or about May 5, 2016; while in Washington, Kilimnik had pre-arranged meetings with State Department employees.907

Late on the evening of May 6, Gates arranged for Kilimnik to take a 3:00 a.m. train to meet Manafort in New York for breakfast on May 7.908 According to Manafort, during the meeting, he and Kilimnik talked about events in Ukraine, and Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the Trump Campaign, expecting Kilimnik to pass the information back to individuals in Ukraine and elsewhere.909 Manafort stated that Opposition Bloc members recognized Manafort’s position on the Campaign was an opportunity, but Kilimnik did not ask for anything.910 Kilimnik spoke about a plan of Boyko to boost election participation in the eastern zone of Ukraine, which was the base for the Opposition Bloc.911 Kilimnik returned to Washington, D.C. right after the meeting with Manafort.

There are two passages that reference the May meeting in the Team M Report, albeit in less detail than appears in the Mueller Report (notably leaving out Yuriy Boyko’s trip to Moscow, as well as Gates’ arrangements for the trip).

During the late spring of 2016, Kilimnik continued to collect information on the political situation in Ukraine.

[4 line b5 redaction]

Kilimnik further explained that he planned to be in Washington, D.C., between May 5 and May 8, 2016.8


On May 7, 2016, Kilimnik met with Manafort in New York City.97 Gates arranged the meeting and purchased Kilimnik’s Amtrak tickets from Washington, D.C. to New York.98 According to Manafort, he briefed Kilimnik on the Trump campaign, expecting Kilimnik to pass the information back to individuals in Ukraine and elsewhere.99 Manafort stated that Kilimnik did not ask for anything based upon Manafort’s position with the campaign.100 Kilimnik spoke about Boyko’s plan for election participation in the occupied zone of Ukraine.

But this discussion has some big b7A redactions, including some redacting personal information and others redacting law enforcement techniques. In other words, whereas Mueller was able to include at least some discussion of the May meeting in the report, parts of it remain sensitive, three years later, even as Russia attempts to implement a plan to carve up Ukraine, now using force, pitched to Manafort at that Havana Bar meeting.

There seems to be increased investigative interest in those spring 2016 events as time has passed, so much so that DOJ may be sharing less than Mueller did in his initial release.

To be clear: none of these redactions mean that Manafort is at legal risk from these ongoing investigations. As noted, the statutes of limitation have expired for most criminal exposure (unless as part of a continuing conspiracy). More likely, all these b7A redactions indicate counterintelligence investigations, not criminal ones.

But what’s interesting about the release of this report, 40 months after it was written, is that it hasn’t gotten any less sensitive over time.

b7A redactions

  • Possible reference to Rick Gates’ role on the Inauguration Committee
  • Manafort’s consulting work for Deripaska
  • Pericles fund
  • Kilimnik’s ties to Russian intelligence services and IRI
  • Jonathan Hawker and Alex Van der Zwaan on Kilimnik’s ties to RIS
  • Kilimnik’s ties to Viktor Boyarkin
  • Kilimnik’s May 2016 trip to the US
  • The August 2 meeting with Kilimnik in the Havana Club
  • A reference to Kilimnik’s reference to black caviar
  • The plan to carve up Ukraine
  • Manafort’s plan to win the election
  • Gates’ version of the August 2 meeting
  • Sam Patten’s version of the August 2 meeting
  • Manafort’s sharing of polling data
  • The purpose behind Manafort’s trip to Spain
  • The second meeting in Spain
39 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    I certainly wonder if the kid glove treatment is somehow a hedge against Individual-1 returning to power, whether by hook or crook. It would seem to me given how vindictive he is that in such a scenario we’d see mass abuse of prosecutorial power. Durham only was a trial balloon.

  2. Peterr says:

    This looks to me like a big ongoing counterintelligence investigation. Between the push to get the 2016 GOP platform to remove its condemnation of Russia for invading Ukraine and the current war going on in Ukraine all these years later, it’s easy to see at least one way in which Russia wanted to be able to use Trump’s candidacy (and later, his presidency) to serve their larger ends.

    In the list of b7a redactions, that initial bullet point strikes me as very interesting. The finances around that Inaugural Committee have long been suspect, first looking at the Trump family and clan overcharging the committee for hotel costs, and later on when Tom Barrack (head of the committee) was indicted in July 2021 for not registering as a foreign agent of UAE under FARA. Barrack’s prosecution may be the ongoing investigation to which this redaction is related, but it may also be tied to criminal and/or counterintelligence investigations into the sources of the committee’s income.

    Whether on their own or with some less-than-subtle hints from those close to Trump, foreign governments learned quickly after the election was over that booking large blocks of rooms at the Trump International Hotel was a good way to pay their respects to the new president in a way that paid some coin to the new president’s personal bank account. I have long wondered whether similar contributions into the Trump Inaugural Committee bank accounts were made by foreign governments looking to snuggle up to a grift-driven president-elect.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Lots of gaps in those books as well in the official records. But, when combined with the reported refusal to prosecute contempt citations that were pretty clear-cut I still wonder if there is some looking over the shoulder.

      The other option that presents itself is that the burrowed GQP sympathizers is putting sand in the gears (like the GSA head did for the transition). I’m not sure that’s better for America.

    • timbo says:

      What the ongoing investigations may be about is obstruction of justice. The statute of limitations on any lies or intentional omissions are still prosecutable for much of this investigation and witness statements; five years ago was early June of 2017 fer instance, a time when the Mueller investigation was just beginning. Any false statements made from then until now are what is clearly a no-no…and there appear to have been tons of that going on well into 2019…and possibly all the way up to the present. Hence, some of these redactions may well be about statements of fact and other things that the investigators gleaned from various sources…and which do not gibe with one another to such an extent that the only explanation is that one or more of the folks involved in this scandal are lying…and possibly continuing to do so.

    • wetzel says:

      What you’re saying makes sense, although I don’t see that this is exactly true, “. . . it’s easy to see at least one way in which Russia wanted to be able to use Trump’s candidacy (and later, his presidency) to serve their larger ends . . .”

      It’s easy to see how everything keeps going back to Ukraine, but the rest isn’t easy to see at all. The Russia-Ukraine War, even as he is losing it, is allowing Putin to re-constitute scientific totalitarianism in Russia.

      If Trump were President, how could he facilitate Putin’s plans in Ukraine. The United States could enter a permanent fake war with Russia. We could reciprocate atrocities. Neither side could ever win. Each fascism would stabilize the Other as the Other. Each would drive the existential crisis and state of emergency justifying the state of terror in each other’s population.

      This is not Trump’s plan. Could it be? Does he even read? It’s Putin’s plan. That’s what I think. I think he’s a monstrous kind of schizophrenic genius following a Christo-fascist program for Russia based on the White Russian philosophy of Ivan Ilyin (1883-1954). I think that’s true.

      My big fear is that if the Ukraine War is still ongoing and the GOP wins in 2024, the United States and Russia will become two symbiotic mirror Christo-fascist hegemons in permanent war. Is that ridiculous? I don’t know that it is. Look at the apartment bombings before the 2nd Chechen War. Putin understands the phenomenology of terroristic violence like Stalin but more sophisticated. War is a form of terroristic propaganda. He would bring Trump into sync.

      • bmaz says:

        What is your evidence that Putin is losing? It may be a hard slog, but he and Russia keep making gains, while obliterating everything in their path. The US, NATO and the EU are consistently a day late and dollar short in giving the Ukrainians what they need if the same supposed “First World” people will not actually engage.

        • Rayne says:

          If this is Putin winning the Russian people had better hang onto their butts.

      • Peterr says:

        “If Trump were President, how could he facilitate Putin’s plans in Ukraine”[?]

        Trump was, by all accounts, *this* close to yanking the US out of NATO, or at least minimizing the US role in NATO. I cannot fathom any circumstances under which Trump would have done anything to rally the West in support of Ukraine once the invasion took place. There would have been no massive influx of weapons from the US, and while Ukraine would not have simply rolled over, one of two things would have happened.

        1) Ukraine would have been crushed because they would have lacked the weapons to take the fight to the Russians.


        2) The European members of NATO would have lent their support to Ukraine, increasing the tensions with the US to the breaking point.

        In scenario 1, Russia gets Ukraine. Maybe not after a couple of weeks as they evidently had planned, but they end up owning Ukraine nevertheless. In scenario 2, even if Russia didn’t end up taking Ukraine, Putin would easily accept the demise of NATO as a consolation prize. And with Trump in the WH, Putin could have gotten both.

        • Rayne says:

          I’m not certain Trump could have pulled off the exit of U.S. from NATO because the treaty was ratified by an act of Congress. He would have had to ask a GOP-majority Congress for amendment or rescission of the ratification. Not all the GOP senators are on board with Russia given the support for sanctions. But Trump could refuse to give orders for Article 5 compliance; there’s an argument to be made Trump was already ignoring the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.

          More likely Trump would have done nothing at all while Russia attempted to perform a reverse Maidan and/or neutralized Zelenskyy perhaps in sync with a surge of Russian military across the border with Ukraine.

          • Peterr says:

            Yes, I know damn well Trump could not unilaterally pull the US out of NATO. But he had already damaged the alliance during his four years in office, as well as made it clear the direction he wanted to go, and it wouldn’t haven taken much more effort on his part to drive a stake into it.

            If Trump stood alone among NATO leaders in not wanting to support Ukraine, the other NATO countries might well have pushed to minimize the US role within NATO, and Trump and a non-trivial portion of the GOP would have gotten huffy and indignant. “How dare those ungrateful furrinners tell us what to do! We’ve been paying to defend their countries since the second world war – a war *we* won for them!” Escalate things a little further, and NATO might decide they’d be better off without the US in the alliance, regardless of what Congress thinks.

            Yes, there are lots of assumptions in the above, but they all start with the counterfactual of a 2nd Trump term rather than the factual Biden presidency. Trump had already damaged the NATO alliance in huge ways between 2016 and 2020, and had already shown his contempt for Ukraine in that same time period. To ask the question of what Trump could have done to help Putin in Ukraine strikes me as ignoring everything that happened while Trump was president, and ignoring the directions he was already planning to go if he won a second term.

            • Rayne says:

              I really don’t think anybody here at ew forgot the “perfect call” Trump made in 2019 nor the bullshit his proxies like Giuliani and Turley pulled all along attempting to ensure Ukraine — specifically Zelenskyy — was compromised and neutered during his term in office.

              Which is why I think Trump would have sat on his hands long enough to see Zelenskyy neutralized, encouraged more fabrication of evidence via Giuliani, and then messaged via social media some obnoxious shit to both glorify and cover up the whole had he managed to obtain a second term.

              The one character in EU which would have predicted how NATO would go without Trump’s support is Germany. If Scholz had won and folded more than he already has, NATO would have been done. We likely would be watching a Nordic Treaty Alliance emerge from Nordefco.

            • Purple Martin says:

              Yes, we can predict what Trump would have done, by considering what he did when he had he chance. This is from a WaPo article earlier this year (I’ve truncated the five points; each has substantial additional detail in the original):

              Five Vile things Trump did with regard to Zelensky and Ukraine

              With the Russian invasion of Ukraine getting more horrific, Donald Trump and his allies are frantically erasing the truth about Trump’s relations with Ukraine. Trump absurdly claims that as president, he stood strong behind Ukraine and NATO, while his spinners comically downplay his corrupt and deeply malevolent betrayal of our ally…The simplest way to illustrate this is by recalling five other things Trump did with regard to Zelensky and Ukraine:

              1. Spread propaganda about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. As early as 2017, Trump began voicing the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 presidential election [which]…echoed Russian propaganda… Putin himself reportedly put this idea in Trump’s head.

              2. Ousted the well-regarded U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Trump pushed out Marie Yovanovitch in 2019, after his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani mounted a smear campaign against her. Yovanovitch was perceived as disloyal to Trump. Here again the move apparently advanced Russia’s geopolitical interests at Ukraine’s expense…

              3. Froze military assistance to Ukraine. Well before extorting Zelensky, Trump alarmed officials by freezing military aid to Ukraine that Congress had appropriated, but without meaningful policy justification…

              4. Withheld a White House meeting from Zelensky [that Trump] communicated would be conditioned on doing his corrupt dirt-digging on Joe Biden. …this meeting was critical to Zelensky. It would…send an international message that the United States was siding with Ukraine against Russian aggression.

              5. Turned Ukraine policy over to Rudy Giuliani. This was one of the most shocking subplots: Trump repeatedly instructed Zelensky to contact Giuliani to discuss what Zelensky would be required to do to please Trump…

              • Rayne says:

                What happened to former ambassador Yovanovitch has struck me repeatedly as parallel to the treatment of Pence leading into and through the January 6 attack on the Capitol — undermined and smeared with a vague threat of violence hanging over their heads at the end.

                  • Rayne says:

                    Meh. That Atlantic piece was written by Molly Jong-Fast before January 6 and focused solely on Yovanovitch. Stepping back to look from a 50,000 foot elevation, there’s a pattern of behavior not confined to women as targets. It’s mafia behavior, like the quid pro quo asking Zelenskyy for a favor.

                    The comparison I make between Yovanovitch and Pence is that it’s not confined to economic leverage against a person/group/country, but implicit threats of violence aimed at individuals. These threats may be more obvious when aimed at women — like “that woman in Michigan” who remains on Trumpists’ target list — but there are likely more men who have been threatened and our culture prevents us from seeing this or recognizing this. Who was responding in real time to Trump’s remarks about Pence that week in January 2021 and seeing it for what it was, after all?

                    TBF, we weren’t recognizing the threats to Yovanovitch or Whitmer, either, it just looked like more Trumpy trash talk.

  3. Zinsky says:

    Paul Manafort is the linchpin to and predicate of the Russia/Ukraine mess and partially explains Trump’s molly-coddling of Putin and various Russian oligarchs.throughout his presidency. An A/P article from early in Trump’s presidency refers to a strategy memo that Manafort drafted for Deripaska in 2005 which states, “he [Manafort] would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government…” Here is the link:

    In other words, Manafort has been working to shape the U.S. in ways that would benefit Putin and Russia since 2015!

    • J R in WV says:

      The Associated Press, AKA The AP, doesn’t have nor has ever had a slash in it. I don’t know what you think A/P means, but it doesn’t refer to the news organization called The Associated Press, AKA The AP.

      Wife was a correspondent with The AP for over 30 years.

  4. Savage Librarian says:

    Some excerpts from a story with additional background on Montenegro:

    “Indictment tells murky Montenegrin coup tale” – Valerie Hopkins, May 23, 2017
    “Katnić said that according to the plan he uncovered, after the voting closed on October 16 the alleged plotters planned to take the parliament by force while a second group would impersonate police officers and fire on a crowd that had gathered outside the building.”
    “After declaring independence in 2006 following a narrowly won referendum, Montenegro initially courted Russian investment and tourism and sold off its main aluminum plant to Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Moscow reportedly also hoped to have a military foothold in the Balkans by purchasing the port in the southern town of Bar. But Montenegro slowly turned its back on Russia and when it was invited to join NATO in 2015, a furious Russia promised “retaliatory actions.”
    …”Aleksandar “Saša” Sinđelić, a Serbian…says he was groomed by Russian intelligence agents…and that in April 2016 he received the first indications from his handler of a plot to overthrow Đukanović.”
    “The indictment also cites a statement attributed to Brian Scott, the CEO of Patriot Defense Group, a defense contractor based in Orlando, Florida.It says he recounted being approached through a chain of individuals, on behalf of a “Canadian-Israeli political adviser”…

    • Leoghann says:

      Since the sorta-end of active nationalistic and ethnic hostilities in the Balkans, it’s been like a game of Risk among the new countries. One or two will court Russia, one or two will work to join NATO, and another one or two will actively court the US. Then the music starts again, and, when it stops, all the alliances change. For example, within the last two weeks, the leader of Serbia made a big deal of purchasing a good deal of petroleum from Putin.

  5. joel fisher says:

    As much as I disagree with the JD’s decision not to prosecute Meadows and Scavino, this actual decision is preferable to the multiple investigations–see EW’s excellent piece, above– which have apparently petered out without so much as a word.

    • timbo says:

      In thinking about this a little further, I imagined that perhaps DOJ has other prosecutions of these individuals that would be monkeyed up somewhat if they pushed the Congressional contempt stuff at this moment. May that be more than wishful thinking on my part.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The man should never come within a country mile of a television camera or microphone.

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        He is hard to listen to, but here are his 3 ideas:

        1) DOJ is going for a felony charge and won’t waste their time on a misdemeanor

        2) DOJ is thinking there are executive privilege concerns with Meadows and Scavino, but not Navarro

        3) DOJ held a “come to Jesus” meeting with all of them. The meetings were held separately, but all on the same day, namely June 2nd. They were told “cooperate or be indicted” and only Navarro was stupid enough to not cooperate.

        It was June 2 that Navarro was to appear to give testimony and the next day he was indicted and DOJ announced they were not seeking indictments on Scavino and Meadows for failure to comply. Ergo, Meadows and Scavino are no longer willing to lie for Trump and they are cooperating.

        All 3 reasons seem plausible to me. I do hope it’s #3.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It’s not his demeanor or delivery, though they are irritating. It’s that he’s vapid, and excitably too far over his skis to land the broad claims he routinely makes.

  6. Concerned Citizen says:

    I remember reading somewhere, I thought it was in the Mueller Report but not in these wordsthat Trump’s first quid pro quo in Ukraine was if, in 2018, then Ukranian President Poroshenko didn’t shut down Mueller’s investigation into Manaforts dealings in Ukraine, Trump would withhold military aid that year and Poroshenko shut it down. Is it rumor or fact? It’s not hard to believe for sure.

    I remember reading somewhere, I thought it was in the Mueller Report but not in these wordsthat Trump’s first quid pro quo in Ukraine was if, in 2018, then Ukranian President Poroshenko didn’t shut down Mueller’s investigation into Manaforts dealings in Ukraine, Trump would withhold military aid that year and Poroshenko shut it down. Is it rumor or fact? It’s not hard to believe for sure.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a different username when you comment next. We’ve had several commenters use “Concerned Citizen” – some were trolls. Use the same differentiated name each time you comment; you’ve used “Susan” for your previous two comments at this site. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • stancat says:

      IIRC, Kilimnik fled Ukraine for asylum in Russia even earlier at a time when he was wanted by DOJ. Contemporaneously, the Trump administration provided arms to Ukraine that the Obama administration had hesitated to give because of the mobsters and Russian toadies in the background. Given that the Ukraine gov could have helped the US take Kilimnik into custody, it smelled like a quid pro quo.

  7. viget says:


    Did not appreciate that SSCI report tidbit re: Manafort meeting with Trump and Giuliani prior to the infamous Havana Bar meeting. Aug 2nd was a Tuesday in 2016, and Strzok had just opened CH the Sunday before.

    Did Giuliani get wind of that the FBI was on to Manfort’s role in the campaign from his NYFO and/or Ukrainian mob connections? Is that why Stone all of the sudden became desperate to win?

    • Desider says:

      Do Paul Ehrends or Rohrabacher appear in any of these reports, even if as “Russia buddy/coordinator #1”? or possibly they were less in the picture once Trump’s team was front & center.

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