Maddow explains why bombshell intel report is very bad news for Trump's Republican enablers
Rachel Maddow (Photo: Screen capture)

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow began her show with the bombshell intelligence report revealing the truth about the Russians' role in the 2020 election. The report also gave some further information that draws lines to previous investigations into Russian hacking of the 2016 election.

In one example, Maddow explained that the report details more information about Russian/Ukrainian consultant Konstantin V. Kilimnik. Paul Manafort was the one who gave confidential Trump campaign polling data to Kilimnik while he was working as a Russian asset.

It reminded Maddow of the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report shared in 2019 before the Democrats took over the Senate. It said: "Kilimnik likely served as a channel for Manafort to Russian intelligence services." However, the report said that they could never discern what was going on because Manafort kept lying to investigators about it. It's what ultimately landed Manafort more time in prison, which Trump ultimately pardoned.

"Manafort's obfuscation of the truth surrounding Konstantin Kilimnik was particularly damaging to the committee's investigation because it effectively foreclosed direct insight into a series of interactions and communications that are the most direct tie between senior Trump campaign officials and the Russian intelligence services," said Maddow.

That was last fall, she noted, with an intelligence report that mentioned Kilimnik's name 750 times.

"Now, in very short order, we know quite a bit more because that was in the fall. Then there was the election. Then in late December, Trump pardoned Paul Manafort for his crimes," Maddow continued. "So, big picture, that means Manafort effectively got away with whatever it was he was doing with Konstantin Kilimnik to help Trump without ever telling investigators the truth about it. Trump effectively rewarded him for not spilling the beans about his work with a Russian intelligence officer while he was running Trump's 2016 campaign. Trump got him off the hook because he never squealed. that pardon was late December. "

In February, she noted, the FBI put out a $250,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of Kilimnik that could lead to his arrest and conviction.

Now, she said, we know what was really happening behind the scenes.

In Sept. 2019, Trump's Treasury Department placed sanctions on Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy (Andrii) Derkach, saying that he was also an "active Russian agent." He was coordinating with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Rudy Giuliani on "dirt" over Joe Biden and his son, which ultimately led to a Senate hearing and months of false accusations on cable news and in conservative media. That evidence, according to the report, appears to have been manufactured by Russian intelligence.

In a later interview with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Maddow asked if a lawmaker who was told by the FBI that people like Derkach and Kilimnik were Russian agents, and continued to work with them if that would make the lawmakers co-conspirators.

"If there were U.S. officials or U.S. persons who were briefed by the intelligence community or briefed by law enforcement that they were being fed disinformation that was part of a foreign influence operation targeting our election," Maddow continued. "If there were people who were warned, you are being targeted by an intelligence operation that is targeting the United States to try to influence our election, and those people, after being warned, knowingly continued to participate in those operations, is that potentially a criminal act? Is that something that those U.S. persons or indeed U.S. officials might have trouble with the criminal law about which they might have trouble with the criminal law if investigations follow along the lines of what's described in this report?"

Schiff confirmed "yes," noting that it was something similar to what special counsel Robert Mueller looked at.

"You can commit conspiracy to defraud, for example, U.S. elections, or conspiracy to violate U.S. campaign laws by receiving foreign opposition research or derogatory information whether it's truthful or untruthful," Schiff explained. "The difficulty is in the proof. You know, Mueller's team had evidence, as you pointed out, that Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman for Donald Trump four years ago, was secretly meeting with Konstantin Kilimnik, an agent of the Kremlin, and giving him inside polling data from the campaign. Now, that was at a time when the Kremlin was doing a clandestine social media campaign to help Donald Trump. And that polling data, of course, would be very useful to someone doing a clandestine social media operation to know what messages to use, to know what audiences to target, what states were critical. So they had evidence of that kind of collusion four years ago, but not enough to prove the crime of conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt. Here someone like Rudy Giuliani, who may have to worry about that. But he is unlikely to have to worry about more easily proven offenses like failing to register as someone representing a foreign power or their own campaign laws. Prosecutors tend to pick the charges most easily proven."

In the case of Johnson and Nunes, they continued to push false "evidence" attacking Biden, citing the false information Derkach gave them. And they continued to do it even after Derkach was sanctioned by Trump's Treasury Department as an active Russian Agent.

See the videos below:


Russia update


Adam Schiff