Mueller Probe Focuses On 2016 Manafort Meeting With Kilimnik

Leroy Wright
February 10, 2019

Weissmann said at the hearing that the meeting included Rick Gates, Manafort's top deputy on the Trump campaign and in Ukraine who also has pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation, and that Gates said the men left separately using different exits than Kilimnik.

A top prosecutor in the special counsel investigation into 2016 election interference has told a federal judge that a summer 2016 meeting in ny between then-candidate Donald Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a man described as a former Russian intelligence officer strikes at "the heart of what the Special Counsel's Office is investigating", a newly released court filing shows. Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby of Alabama said Thursday's session in the Oval Office was "the most positive meeting I've had in a long time" and that the president was "very reasonable".

The details came in a partially redacted transcript released Thursday of a sealed hearing between prosecutors and the defense team for Trump's former campaign chairman in the ongoing legal battle over whether Manafort lied and breached his deal to cooperate in Robert S. Mueller III's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to The Washington Post.

While certain portions of the transcript are redacted, judging by previous court filings the topic at issue appears to be a "Ukrainian peace plan" that Kilimnik and Manafort allegedly discussed at several points in 2016 and 2017.

At the hearing, attorneys discussed whether Manafort may have been motivated to lie in one unspecified instance "to at least augment his chances for a pardon", the transcript states.

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In addition to the August 2, 2016 meeting, which took place at the Grand Havana Club, a cigar bar in Manhattan, Manafort and Kilimnik also discussed the Ukraine-related issue in December 2016 and twice in early 2017, according to the transcript. Manafort faces a separate sentencing in Virginia for bank- and tax-fraud convictions. Gates also spoke to investigators about Manafort sharing the polling data, according to the transcript.

The pair also met in December 2016, in January 2017 when Kilimnik was in Washington and again in February 2017, and as recently as the winter of 2018, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson summarized at the hearing, the transcript shows. Mueller has also gathered evidence about Russian oligarchs.

Kilimnik flew on the private jet of Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska for at least one leg of the trip to attend the August 2, 2016 meeting with Manafort, Vice News has reported.

President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort has some big problems. Manafort wanted to meet Deripaska to end the dispute, according to two people familiar with the matter. And in 2016. there is an in-person meeting with someone who the government has certainly proffered to this court in the past, is understood by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, assessed to be - have a relationship with Russian intelligence, that there is [redacted].

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