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Op-Ed

What The Mueller Report Doesn't Say About Konstantin Kilimnik

The Mueller Report is already a historic document with implications we have not yet fully realized.

Even with redactions--which is all we have at this point, thanks to the "Coverup-General" William Barr--it's pretty damning.

It lays out in lucid precision the myriad ways in which Donald Trump and many in his inner circle obstructed justice, exploited loopholes in our institutions, and accepted electoral aid from a foreign government.

If only the Democratic-majority House of Representatives would begin an impeachment inquiry...

Despite its being a treasure trove of incriminating material, the long-awaited Mueller Report is not without faults.

Many have criticized the Democratic party for hanging their hats on the iron-clad assumption Mueller was going to break with Justice Department protocol and indict a sitting president.

He didn't.

Others rightly scolded the corporate media for reporting virtually nothing but Mueller investigation porn 24/7 for 22 months, only to wind up like die-hard Star Wars fans after seeing The Phantom Menace in 1999.

Redactions aside, Robert Mueller's team conveniently chose to omit some information potentially embarrassing to the U.S. State Department.

One such fault exists within a curious omission regarding former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's Ukrainian business partner, Konstantin Kilimnik.

Hundreds of government documents Special Council Robert Mueller apparently possessed since last year describe Kilimnik as a “sensitive” U.S. State Department intelligence source with information on Ukrainian and Russian matters since 2013, including “while he was still working for Manafort.”

This is revelatory.

Yet it is it not included amid other incriminating evidence against Kilimnik, such as that on page six that states:

“The FBI assesses [Kilimnik] to have ties to Russian intelligence.”

The FBI knew Kilimnik sometimes met several times a week with the chief political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev to provide information on the Ukraine government. He delivered messages to Ukraine’s leaders and emailed written reports to U.S. officials.

The chief political officer at the Kiev embassy from 2014 to 2017, Alan Purcell, told FBI agents and State Dept. officials, including senior embassy officials Alexander Kasanof and Eric Schultz, many considered Kilimnik such a valuable asset, they withheld his name from cables to prevent his being compromised through WikiLeaks.

One FBI interview report states:

“Purcell described what he considered an unusual level of discretion that was taken with handling Kilimnik. Normally the head of the political section would not handle sources, but Kasanof informed Purcell that Kilimnik was a sensitive source.”

Purcell informed the FBI Kilimnik provided “detailed information about OB (Ukraine’s opposition bloc) inner workings” sometimes so valuable it was handed off to the ambassador.

Purcell learned other Western governments also considered Kilimnik a source.

The FBI report adds:

“One time, in a meeting with the Italian embassy, Purcell heard the Italian ambassador echo a talking point that was strikingly familiar to the point Kilimnik had shared with Purcell.” 

Purcell's predecessor, Alexander Kasanof, told the FBI he was aware Kilimnik worked for Manafort’s lobbying firm and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's administration, describing Kilimnik as one few reliable insiders the U.S. Embassy had on Yanukovych.

Kasanof told the FBI agents:

“Kilimnik was one of the only people within the administration who was willing to talk to USEMB [U.S. Embassy]. He provided information about the inner workings of Yanukovych’s administration.”

Three sources with knowledge of Mueller’s office's operations confirmed the special prosecutor’s team held all FBI interviews with State officials in addition to Kilimnik’s intelligence reports to the U.S. Embassy before they characterized Kilimnik as a Russian sympathizer tied to Moscow intelligence or charged him with participating in a scheme with Paul Manafort to obstruct the 22-month investigation.

State Dept. emails containing consistent intelligence from Kilimnik on events inside the Yanukovych administration, the Crimea conflict, and Ukrainian and Russian politics, confirm this.

So why was it omitted from the publicized Mueller report?

Given the information we are privy to, one might assume Kilimnik is insignificant.

Mueller mentioned his meeting at the Trump Tower with Manafort in August 2016.

There are pages dedicated to Kilimnik's biography from his birth in the Dnieprpetrovsk region, his travel to the U.S. in 1997, to his PR work defending Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

The Mueller report flagged a peace plan for settling the Crimea conflict between Russia and Ukraine Kilimnik delivered to the Trump campaign.

Yet, despite knowledge of it, the report doesn't mention Kilimnik's initial delivery of this plan during a visit to Washington in May 2016.

Could it be because Kilimnik has been a “sensitive” State Dept. for at least five years?

Investigative reporter and author Matt Taibbi refers in his piece "Exposé in 'The Hill' challenges Mueller, media" to a piece in The Hill by John Solomon:

 "This relationship was described in 'hundreds of pages of government documents' that [Hill reporter John] Solomon reports Mueller 'possessed since 2018.' The FBI, he added, knew all about Kilimnik’s status as a State Department informant before the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation. 

"This is one of a growing number of examples of people whose status as documented U.S. informants goes unmentioned in the Mueller report, where they are instead described under the general heading, 'Russian government links to, and contact with, the Trump campaign.'"

And from the corporate media?

Nada.

Taibbi explains:

"It would be one thing if other outlets were rebutting his [Solomon's] claims about Kilimnik, as people have with some of his other stories. But this report has attracted zero response from non-conservative media, despite the fact that Kilimnik has long been one of the most talked-about figures in the whole Russiagate drama."

Could the U.S.'s relationship with Kilimnik be considered comparable to those it has maintained with less than savory powerful people in the past, like Saddam Hussein and Manuel Noriega in 1980s?

Just look at the Trump administration’s cozy relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Mueller Report is a big deal, but we must also consider the politics involved.

Robert Mueller and his team were operating within extremely rigid parameters, more than most of us will ever realize.

Robert Mueller used to be the FBI director.

He knows who is connected to whom.

Image credit: investigaterussia.org

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Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, Straight Forward Poetry, The Broke Bohemian, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News, Liberal America, and Liberal Nation Rising.

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