Mueller Indicts Russian-Ukrainian Operative and Manafort Crony Konstantin Kilimnik

A few quick notes:

1. Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik worked so closely together that Manafort referred to Kilimnik as "my Russian brain." Manafort worked with Kilimnik for nearly two decades — and kept working with him long after Kilimnik was suspected of working for the GRU.

2. Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti pointed out on Twitter: "This is Mueller's first indictment with both a Russian and an American name on it — former Trump Campaign Chair Manafort and suspected Russian intel operative Konstantin Kilimnik."

That's notable because, even though Mueller has issued indictments of Russians and indictments of Americans, issuing an indictment that includes both is a stronger indication of the potential collusion he's been tasked with investigating.

3. In a lot of the coverage of this new indictment, you're going to see framing of Manafort's and Kilimnik's work together like this, at Bloomberg (as but one of many examples): "Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on a U.S. lobbying effort on Ukraine's behalf, was indicted on federal charges Friday by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller."

To quote Eastsidekate in comments earlier this week: "I hate how the media keeps framing Manafort's work as promoting the interests of Ukraine, which sounds completely isolated from Russian espionage. He worked for pro-Kremlin stooges who were kicked out of office by the Ukrainian people. Manafort cares fuck all about 'the interests of Ukraine.'"

That is absolutely correct and extremely important to understand. Manafort was working in Ukraine on behalf of Russian allies there. And so was Kilimnik.

4. Unless I've missed it, Kilimnik hasn't been arrested today, which means that he's probably not in the United States right now, and it's unlikely he'll show himself in any country that would pick him up and extradite him to the U.S. (especially as Trump ensures our list of allies grows thinner and thinner). That makes the indictment largely symbolic, except insofar as it further makes the collusion case against Manafort — and, by extension, Trump.

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