Senate Report: Paul Manafort Worked With A Russian Intelligence Officer

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The report says Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik "formed a close and lasting relationship."

According to Politico, a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report released Tuesday concluded that “Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort worked closely with a Russian intelligence officer who may have been involved in the hack and release of Democratic emails during the election.”

  • The news outlet reported that the disclosure, which “was part of the committee’s fifth and final installment of its report on the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 presidential election,” is the “furthest U.S. officials have gone in describing Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime Manafort associate, as an agent of the Russian government.”
  • The Senate report states that “Kilimnik quickly became an integral part of Manafort’s operations in Ukraine and Russia,” and that the two men “formed a close and lasting relationship that would endure to the 2016 U.S. elections and beyond.”

The committee, which conducted the only bipartisan investigation on Capitol Hill centering on Russia’s 2016 meddling, also raised the possibility that Manafort was personally connected to the “hack-and-leak operations” that targeted Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The committee states that “some evidence suggests Kilimnik may be connected” to the effort, which was helmed by Russia’s GRU, its main military-intelligence directorate.

  • Because investigators were unable to discern the full extent of many of Manafort’s conversations with Kilimnik, the committee “cautioned that Manafort’s personal involvement with the operation is ‘largely unknown.’”
  • The report states: “Kilimnik was in sustained contact with Manafort before, during, and after the GRU cyber and influence operations, but the committee did not obtain reliable, direct evidence that Kilimnik and Manafort discussed the GRU hack-and-leak operation.”
  • Kilimnik, whose name is mentioned hundreds of times in the report, “is described as not only aiding the Russian interference effort but working with Manafort and allies in Ukraine to help cover up evidence of Russia’s involvement — and spread false allegations that it was Ukrainians who interfered instead.”

Politico noted that “Manafort was convicted of a raft of financial crimes in August 2018 and pleaded guilty to additional crimes in August 2019, briefly pledging to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's team before prosecutors accused him of telling additional lies and breaking off the deal.”

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