Special Counsel investigation (2017–2019)

In what country was Konstantin Kilimnik employed by Manafort?

The New York Times reported, on March 28, 2018, that former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates had, in September and October 2016, frequently communicated with a man that the FBI believes is a former agent of GRU, Russia's largest foreign intelligence agency, and who had maintained active links with Russian intelligence during these communications; this disclosure was written into a court sentencing document for Alex van der Zwaan, submitted by Robert Mueller. Identified in the document as "Person A", The Times reported that the man matched the description of Konstantin Kilimnik, who, for years, was Paul Manafort's "right-hand man" in Ukraine. Gates reportedly told an associate that he knew "Person A" was a former GRU agent, although Manafort told associates he was not aware of such a connection. The Times reported on January 8, 2019, that in spring 2016 Gates and Manafort gave polling data, some of which was private to the Trump campaign, to Kilimnik, asking he pass it to Ukrainians Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov. During a closed-door court hearing on February 4, 2019, regarding false statements Manafort had made to investigators about his communications with Kilimnik, special counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told judge Amy Berman Jackson that "This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the special counsel's office is investigating," suggesting that Mueller's office continued to examine a possible agreement between Russia and the Trump campaign.


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  • On March 14, 2019, the House voted 420–0 in favor of a non-binding resolution calling for the full special counsel report to be released to Congress and the public, excluding classified or grand jury information. The same day the bill was brought before the Senate for unanimous consent, but was blocked by Senator Lindsey Graham, who said it needed a clause requiring the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations against the 2016 Clinton campaign. On March 15, Trump stated "there should be no Mueller Report" because "this was an illegal & conflicted investigation." Five days later he stated, "I told the House, 'If you want, let [the public] see it,'" adding, "that's up to the Attorney General." On March 25, 2019, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell blocked an effort by minority leader Chuck Schumer for the Senate to take up the same resolution approved by the House eleven days earlier.

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  • The Special Counsel law requires a special counsel to confidentially provide the current attorney general with a report of findings. The attorney general, in this case William Barr, is then required to provide a summary of the findings to Congress, although he has considerable discretion in how much detail he provides. The full release of the Mueller findings to Congress and the public is not assured. Should Congress be dissatisfied with the summary it is provided, it could subpoena Mueller's full report, and, if necessary, sue in federal court. Congress could also call Mueller to testify.

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  • On 15 May 2015, new UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed proposed peace talks in Geneva. Rebel spokesman Hamed al-Bokheiti said the Houthis were willing to hold talks in any "neutral" country. Five days later the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon announced that peace talks would be held in Geneva starting on 28 May and urged all parties to participate. Houthi rebels reiterated their support for the talks while exiled government officials said they would participate only if the Houthi's withdrew from occupied cities.

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  • In January 2017, an assessment was released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, then headed by Obama appointee James Clapper, which asserted that Russian leadership had favored presidential candidate Donald Trump over rival candidate Hillary Clinton, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally ordered an "influence campaign" to harm Clinton's electoral chances and "undermine public faith in the US democratic process". It is alleged that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election by bolstering the candidacies of Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Jill Stein in order to increase political instability in the United States as well as to damage the Clinton presidential campaign.

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  • On January 16, 2018, The New York Times reported that Steve Bannon was subpoenaed by Mueller to testify before the standing grand jury in Washington, DC. Reuters and CNN reported the next day that Bannon had struck a deal with Mueller's team to be interviewed by prosecutors instead of testifying before the grand jury. On February 15, 2018, multiple sources reported that those interviews had taken place over several days that week. TMZ reported that Kristin M. Davis, the "Manhattan Madam" who had previously worked for Roger Stone, was subpoenaed in June 2018. On August 10, 2018, a federal judge found Stone's former aide Andrew Miller to be in contempt of court for refusing to testify before the grand jury. Also that day, the Mueller investigation subpoenaed Randy Credico, whom Stone had described as his "backchannel" to Julian Assange. The Wall Street Journal reported on November 14, 2018, that Mueller's investigators are examining whether Stone engaged in witness tampering by intimidating Credico into supporting Stone's assertions.

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