BOMBSHELL: WaPo reveals August ’16 meeting between Manafort and suspected Russian spy
In August, as tension mounted over Russia’s role in the U.S. presidential race, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, sat down to dinner with a business associate from Ukraine who once served in the Russian army.
Konstantin Kilimnik, who learned English at a military school that some experts consider a training ground for Russian spies, had helped run the Ukraine office for Manafort’s international political consulting practice for 10 years.
At the Grand Havana Room, one of New York City’s most exclusive cigar bars, the longtime acquaintances “talked about bills unpaid by our clients, about [the] overall situation in Ukraine . . . and about the current news,” including the presidential campaign, according to a statement provided by Kilimnik, offering his most detailed account of his interactions with the former Trump adviser.
Kilimnik, who provided a written statement to The Washington Post through Manafort’s attorney, said the previously unreported dinner was one of two meetings he had with Manafort on visits to the United States during Manafort’s five months working for Trump. The first encounter was in early May 2016, about two weeks before the Trump adviser was elevated to campaign chairman.
The August dinner came about two weeks before Manafort resigned under pressure amid reports that he had received improper payments for his political work in Ukraine, allegations that he has denied. …
Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said that Kilimnik was a “longtime business associate” who would have naturally been in touch with Manafort. Manafort told Politico, which first reported his relationship with Kilimnik, that his conversations included discussions about the cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee and the release of its emails.
“It would be neither surprising nor suspicious that two political consultants would chat about the political news of the day, including the DNC hack, which was in the news,” Maloni said.
Now we have learned that, during his years in Kyiv, Manafort’s translator and sidekick was Konstantin Kilimnik, who had spent several years with Russian military intelligence or GRU. Although Kilimnik made no effort to hide his Kremlin affiliation, he and Manafort became fast friends.
To anybody familiar with Russian intelligence, Kilimnik was very likely Manafort’s spy-handler. At best, he was an access agent for GRU, assessing the American for possible espionage. “There are no former intelligence officers,” as Vladimir Putin has stated, and one can only imagine the glee in Moscow when Manafort was appointed Trump’s campaign manager.