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How Paul Manafort is connected to Trump, Russia investigation

11 June 2018

For Manafort, though, the charges come at a perilous time, just hours before his attorneys filed a legal brief arguing that he should be allowed to be freed from home confinement on bond pending his trial, scheduled for next month in Alexandria, Virginia.

The special counsel has now charged 20 people and racked up five guilty pleas during the ongoing investigation into Russian election meddling.

They said Kilimnik may have reported to Russian intelligence officers in Moscow or Kiev or both on his work at the International Republican Institute office in Moscow where he was employed for a decade to 2005 and later on his work for Manafort in Ukraine.

US President Donald Trump's former election campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Manafort's associate, who has been linked to Russian intelligence, have been charged with two obstruction of justice counts after prosecutors said they interfered with witnesses in an investigation.

The obstruction charges are related to a filing earlier this week in which Mueller's investigators alleged that Manafort and Kilimnik, also linked to Russia's intelligence service, attempted to tamper with the two un-named witnesses - going so far as to allegedly coach their testimony. The spokesman, Jason Maloni, said Friday that Manafort and his lawyers were reviewing the new charges.

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Kilimnik, a former army-trained linguist with alleged ties to Russian intelligence, was included in an updated, lengthened indictment of Manafort that accused both of witness tampering. He faces a second trial in Washington, D.C., in September.

Kilimnik has also drawn the scrutiny of congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

By adding Kilimnik to the running charges against Manafort, Mueller bolsters his argument for tearing up Manafort's bail deals, according to Peter Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor who is now a partner at Arent Fox LLP in Washington.

Manafort has maintained his innocence despite all of the charges brought before him. Kilimnik, who prosecutors say lives in Moscow, was not in US custody Friday.

According to court filings, after Manafort was accused in February of additional instances of secretly lobbying on behalf of a foreign government without registering as a lobbyist, he and Kilimnik repeatedly contacted the two executives to emphasize that their past work together did not involve American officials and therefore did not constitute lobbying in the United States.

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On Friday, the former campaign manager issued a report denouncing allegations by Robert Mueller that he had tampered with witness evidence. One project was to assemble a team of European political leaders who could advocate for Ukraine's then-President Viktor Yanukovych - apparently independently. Kilimnik has denied such ties and characterized himself as "a random casualty because of my proximity to" Manafort.

However, Manafort is known to have taken part in a June 2016 meeting with Trump's son Donald Trump Jr and son-in-law Jared Kushner and a Russian lawyer, which had been set up to gain information on Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton.

Kilimnik remained in contact with Manafort during the period when Manafort was serving as chairman of Trump's presidential campaign in 2016.

Manafort, who has also been indicted in a federal court in Virginia, has been charged with an array of allegations from money-laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent for Ukraine to bank and tax fraud.

Asked on Friday if he would pardon Manafort, Trump refused to answer.

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How Paul Manafort is connected to Trump, Russia investigation