A Russian national with ties to both Kremlin intelligence services and Paul Manafort is under new scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Konstantin Kilimnik — known as Manafort’s “Russian brain” — has already been indicted in a witness tampering scheme along with Manafort, who pleaded guilty to some charges and was convicted by a jury on others, but Mueller is taking a closer look at his actions before the election, reported The Guardian.
“If there’s anybody who might provide a connection between the campaign and the Russian government, it could be Kilimnik,” said Nick Akerman, a former assistant special Watergate prosecutor.
The special counsel’s office is reportedly examining Kilimnik’s activities ahead of the 2016 election in association with Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, and his former deputy Rick Gates, and lobbyist Sam Patten.
Kilimnik reportedly used a jet owned by sanctioned oligarch Oleg Deripaska for a trip to New York to meet Manfort in early August 2016 — shortly before he stepped away from the Trump campaign over his ties to Russia.
“It’s a safe bet that prosecutors will be asking the cooperators about conversations they had with Kilimnik and others, and would also likely ask about their knowledge of Kilimnik’s dealings with people like Deripaska,” said Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney in Virginia.