If perhaps you were wondering just how extensive the full scope of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s case against Donald Trump is, the indictment of a top Russian operative aligned with former campaign chairman Paul Manafort suggests that Mueller knows everything. And that’s very bad news for Trump and everyone else under investigation in the Russia probe.
On Friday, a man by the name of Konstantin Kilimnik was named in a new indictment of Manafort. Kilimnik, who has deep ties to the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He’s also known to be aligned with the Russian intelligence services. In other words, Kilimnik is about as “connected” as you can be in Russia.
The indictment, as CNN reports, focuses on the witness tampering charges Mueller recently made against Manafort, who allegedly contacted two witnesses in the case against him:
“The case now accuses both Manafort and Kilimnik … of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, meaning they allegedly worked together to contact two possible witnesses in Manafort’s case since February.”
For his witness tampering efforts, it’s highly likely that Manafort will have his bail and pretrial release revoked when he appears before a federal judge overseeing the case on Friday, June 15. If that happens, Manafort will be taken into custody and jailed, awaiting his pending trial, which begins in July.
But for Donald Trump, who was heading off to the G-7 meeting when the indictment was unsealed, the news of Kilimnik and Manafort’s new charges is nothing short of a bombshell. Kilimnik knows all of the contacts Trump and others close to Trump have had with Russian agents who conspired with Trump and his associates to guarantee the election was won by the Donald.
Keep in mind that Manafort served as head of the Trump campaign for several months and made millions of dollars doing business in Russia and Ukraine prior to joining the Trump team. It’s likely that Manafort is the one who made the introductions between Trump and his Russian contacts who were only too happy to help elect a man they could control.
Also, with Manafort now looking at spending the rest of his miserable life in prison, he too has every incentive to turn on Trump and cooperate with Mueller. If he’s holding out for a presidential pardon, he might want to keep in mind that he can be charged in New York state, where Trump has zero pardon power.
The nexus between Trump and Russia has now been laid bare in a single indictment. Donald Trump may think he can bluster or weasel his way out of the mess he’s created, but Mueller has all the exits covered. Trump is trapped, and that means he’s toast.