Russian-Ukrainian political operative was at Trump inauguration: filing

Mueller alleges Manafort continued work related to Ukraine despite 2017 indictment

To make explicit what the special counsel's office is saying here: Manafort's meeting with a man with ties to Russian intelligence during the heat of the 2016 campaign is at "the heart" of the Russia investigation.

Russian-Ukrainian political operative Konstantin Kilimnik met with Manafort, who was Trump's presidential campaign chairman, in January 2017 when he was in the USA capital for Trump's inauguration, according to the transcript of a February 4 court hearing in a federal court in Washington.

Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik - the aide who also has been indicted in the Mueller investigation - discussed a peace plan for Ukraine on more than one occasion, including during one meeting in August 2016, while Manafort served as Trump's campaign chairman, Manafort's attorneys have said.

Manafort's legal team first mistakenly revealed in an improperly redacted court filing that Mueller's prosecutors had questioned Manafort about the sharing of polling data with Kilimnik.L.P.

The closed hearing was held so the judge could weigh evidence supporting allegations by Mueller's office that Manafort had lied to prosecutors about five subject matters in breach of a plea agreement struck in September.

The details came in a partially redacted transcript released Thursday.

Instead, the deal collapsed, with prosecutors withdrawing any offer of a recommendation for leniency and accusing Manafort in late November of lying repeatedly to them.

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Manafort's lawyers have countered that any discrepancies were unintentional as he refreshed his memory or recalled specific details in his sessions with investigators and a grand jury.

Mueller is investigating whether there was collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation, which US intelligence agencies charge mounted an influence operation to sway the vote to Trump over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

But, prosecutors say, Manafort met with Kilimnik several times throughout 2017 and even into 2018, and discussed Ukrainian policy again and again.

Manafort has said he never lied to prosecutors.

Kilimnik, who was indicted past year on charges of witness tampering in Manafort's case, has denied having ties to Russian spy agencies.

Jackson's ruling could affect Manafort's sentencing on two felony charges stemming from illegal lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian interests.

Kilimnik flew on the private jet of Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska for at least one leg of the trip to attend the August 2, 2016 meeting with Manafort, Vice News has reported. Deripaska, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, emailed Kilimnik earlier in the year to offer "private briefings" about the Trump campaign, the Washington Post reported. And in 2016. there is an in-person meeting with someone who the government has certainly proffered to this court in the past, is understood by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, assessed to be - have a relationship with Russian intelligence, that there is [redacted].

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