As Paul Manafort anticipates transfer to RIKERS ISLAND to await charges by the state of New York for additional financial crimes, John Solomon reports that Robert Mueller’s special counsel report significantly distorted the background of a Ukrainian businessman with whom Manafort had business ties, saying that he was a Russian intel agent.
Sounds sinister, doesn’t it? But Konstantin Kilimnik was, in reality, a ‘sensitive’ intelligence source for the U.S. State Department, not Russia. He was one of their most reliable and valuable sources on what was going on inside the Ukrainian government. State Department officials had told the FBI that it didn’t seem Kilimnik held any allegiance to Moscow at all, and that he was, in fact, highly critical of Russia’s invasion of Crimea. Mueller had to be well aware of all this. He had had in his possession since 2018 hundreds of pages of government documents such as “302” interview reports, from both the FBI and State Department, that attested to this. By leaving it out and painting Kilimnik as a Russian agent, he managed to make former Trump campaign chairman Manafort look like a possible conspirator.
Mueller and his team had to know that Kilimnik visited the United States twice in 2016 to meet with State Department officials, and that for years, going back to 2013, he met regularly, sometimes several times a week, with the top political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev. He sent lengthy written email reports to U.S. officials. In other words, he was on our side. But you would never know this from reading the report, because THEY LEFT IT OUT.
This seems very much in character for Mueller (or, just as likely, his infamous right-hand man Andrew Weissmann, known for deep-sixing exculpatory material); he also deceptively edited the transcript of a voicemail from former Trump attorney John Dowd to the attorney for Michael Flynn, making a perfectly appropriate and proper conversation between lawyers seem like obstruction of justice.
Mueller is just as adept as James Comey’s FBI was at strategically omitting information. The FISA application to spy on Carter Page said HE was suspected of being a Russian agent (when they knew he wasn't) but hid their knowledge that the Steele “dossier” was political opposition research against Trump that had been funded by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, with money funneled through their law firm. That would have been something to include, wouldn’t it??
Sean Hannity pointed out on his Thursday night show that Solomon is not the first reporter to raise questions about Kilimnik; for example, Kenneth Vogel and Andrew Kramer wrote at great length about him in The New York Times on February 23 of this year. (“Russian spy or hustling political operative? The enigmatic figure at the heart of Mueller’s inquiry...”) But what’s new is the observation that Mueller knowingly left out information about Kilimnik to more easily paint him as a Russian agent.
But, hey, by twisting the story, they really juiced up their report. As John Solomon writes, “The incomplete portrayal of Kilimnik is so important to Mueller’s overall narrative that it is raised in
the opening of his report. ‘The FBI assesses’ Kilimnik ‘to have ties to Russian intelligence,’ Mueller’s team wrote on page 6, putting a sinister light on every contact Kilimnik had with Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman.”
“And [Kilimnik] had that recent contact [with U.S. intel] in March of 2016, just as he [Manafort] was being named to the President’s campaign. How does that stay a secret for so long?” Solomon asked. “Somebody didn’t want us to get a complete picture, that’s what.”
Another distortion is Mueller’s portrayal of Kilimnik’s delivery to the Trump campaign of a peace plan for settling the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine over Crimea. This was in August of 2016. What the report fails to mention is that Kilimnik had already presented this plan...to the Obama administration, three months earlier during a trip to Washington. He offered it to Alexander Kasanof, his former handler at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, who (get this) by then had been promoted to a top policy position at the State Department. (That’s the level of trust we’re talking about.) Kilimnik was thanked for the plan and told that it was “very important for us to know.”
Mueller’s report says nothing about Kilimnik’s previous delivery of the plan to the Obama State Department.
Also, the fact that he was able to travel to the U.S. to meet with State officials tells us that he was never flagged in visa databases as a foreign intelligence threat.
Solomon has tons of confirmation that Mueller’s team had all this documentation and must have been aware of Kilimnik’s true alliances, which apparently weren’t sinister at all. Just the opposite, in fact. Of course, with Kilimnik’s Russian connections, he surely DID have contact over the years with Russian intelligence figures, but perhaps those very contacts helped make his information especially valuable to our State Department. His work as a trusted intel source for the State Department needed to be figured into Mueller’s report, but Mueller studiously ignored it.
So, as Mueller slinks away, the question is, how else did he shape the narrative? What else did he leave out?
Key figure that Mueller report linked to Russia was a State Department intel source
In related news, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents and is currently awaiting sentencing, reportedly wants to fire his attorneys. However, on Thursday evening Judge Emmet Sullivan blocked this move, although it was on procedural grounds. According to the Washington Examiner, Flynn is preparing to withdraw his guilty plea.
We’ve followed Flynn’s story for a long time. Recall that during the transition, as he was moving boxes into his new office as Trump’s new national security adviser, two FBI officials –- Peter Strzok (that’s right) and Joe Pietka –- sent by then-FBI Director James Comey dropped in to, uh, clear up a few questions they had about some of his contacts. His deputy, Andrew McCabe, had casually set this up in a phone call, making out that it was no big deal, just a formality. Flynn had asked McCabe if he should have a lawyer and was specifically told no.
We know now that this was a bogus interview; they already knew exactly what Flynn had said in the phone conversations they asked him about because they had surveilled him and unmasked his name. (Someone also illegally leaked it to the Washington Post –- a serious crime.) Sally Yates had set this obvious perjury trap in motion by expressing concerns that Flynn might have violated the Logan Act (!) by having contacts that actually were perfectly appropriate for someone in his job during a presidential transition.
Comey even joked later in a 2018 TV interview that he wouldn’t have tried something like this –- casually dropping by and questioning someone without a lawyer –- during previous administrations, only during the “chaos” of Trump’s transition period. Real funny. What he and his cohorts did ruined the life and reputation of a distinguished military man who served his country for many years.
We now know that even the agents who interviewed Flynn didn’t think he was actually trying to be deceptive. It seems obvious that he pleaded guilty only because he was out of money and just couldn’t continue the legal fight. (There were also reports that they were threatening to go after his son, too.) But since then, we’ve figured out what this really was, and so has he. Perhaps he also has a new source of legal funds; I pray that’s the case, as this man was set up from the get-go. If he wants to change his plea now, so be it!
Apparently, this honorable man still has some fight left in him.