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Mueller confirms Kilimnik a focus of grand jury investigation

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 15, 2019

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort spoke to a federal grand jury last fall about his communications with Konstantin Kilimnik, including regarding an in-person meeting with the Russian associate and an email with him, special counsel Robert Mueller revealed Tuesday.

The special counsel kept more details about the meeting secret in its court filing, such as what the in-person meeting was about and when it took place.

But the acknowledgment Tuesday is the first confirmation from prosecutors that Kilimnik is still connected to the investigation before the federal grand jury.

Based on recent filings from Mueller's team, Kilimnik appears to be at the heart of pieces of Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller's team has been redacting information in its recent court filings to protect other individuals and to keep secret its ongoing investigations, of which there are multiple still in the works. But the special counsel has not redacted Kilimnik's name.

Mueller also revealed Tuesday that Manafort communicated with Kilimnik beginning on August 2, 2016.

Manafort left the Trump campaign later that month. Prosecutors previously accused him of sharing polling data related to the 2016 presidential campaign with Kilimnik, according to a Manafort filing last week.

Earlier Tuesday, Mueller's team and defense attorneys for former Trump campaign official Rick Gates said that once again the special counsel is not ready for Gates to be sentenced.

Gates was Trump's deputy campaign chairman at a time when the campaign had several suspicious communications with Russians or about Russia, including then-campaign chairman Manafort sharing polling data with Kilimnik, the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 and the party's decision to change its platform regarding Russian intervention in Ukraine.

At the same time, the Russians' military intelligence hacked Democratic targets and facilitated the public release of stolen emails to damage Trump's opponents. Russians backed by a powerful oligarch also at that time allegedly ran a propaganda campaign on American social media sites to influence voters in a way that would help Trump. Mueller's investigation focuses on Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.