WTF Community

Day 433

Updated 3/28/2018 11:00 AM PDT

1/ Rick Gates knowingly communicated with "a former Russian Intelligence Officer" during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to documents filed by Robert Mueller's investigators. Gates was in frequent contact with "Person A" – who has been identified as Konstantin Kilimnik – during the time he worked for Trump's campaign, including in September and October 2016. The documents Mueller filed indicate that the communications between Gates and Kilimnik are "pertinent to the investigation." Kilimnik worked with Paul Manafort for four years on behalf of a Kremlin-aligned Ukrainian political party. (New York Times / Washington Post)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I could use some help teasing out the details of the Gates-Manafort-Kilimnik-van-der-Zwaan stuff. What’s missing from this? Or is there a better way of discussing this?


It’s interesting to note here, that one of the reasons Mueller gave for requesting jail time for van der Zwaan in the memo realeased today, is that van der Zwaan’s father-in-law is the Russian billionaire Oligarch, German Khan.


Sixth, van der Zwaan is a person of ample financial means—both personally and through his father-in-law, a prominent Russian oligarch, who has paid substantial sums to the defendant and his wife. He can pay any fine imposed.


Also Shulkin is out.


I’m not a lawyer, so I’ll refer to a Vox explainer on this one.


The Fifth Amendment protects citizens against self-incrimination. But if someone has been pardoned, they no longer face the threat of prosecution, and so they can’t use a desire to avoid incriminating themselves as an excuse not to answer a question.
So in addition to potentially obstructing justice, Trump would only leave himself — and his colleagues — more vulnerable if he decided to pardon anyone currently under investigation.


@elaphe It would appear as though Manafort thought he could be pardoned and/or that his friends could possibly buy his freedom.

That Vox explainer does include one scenario in which Trump could pardon his way out of this mess but it would mean giving up the presidency.


There is, however, one scenario in which Trump could save himself and others from potential prosecution. It’s what Susan Bloch, a law professor at Georgetown, calls the Nixon scenario: “Trump pardons them [Flynn, Kushner, Manafort, and Donald Trump Jr.] as he is exiting the White House and Trump exits early, allowing Pence to become president, and Pence then pardons Trump. Trump will then have successfully shielded himself and his colleagues from criminal liability.”


And… German Khan is one of the owners of Alfa Bank. This is the Russian bank that allegedly maintained a mysterious connection with a server in Trump Tower during the campaign. In April of 2017, CNN reported that the FBI is investigating the connection. But how (or if) that relates to van der Zwaan, Gates, and Manafort’s communication with a Russian intelligence officer is anybody’s guess at this point.

Matt, I can see why you’re looking for a way to “white board” this – there are really a mind boggling number of nodes and paths in this dark network. If I come across a good analysis, I’ll post it here!

Side note: I’d give almost anything to have a peek at the white boards around Mueller’s office – at this point, they must look like someone threw a big pot of spaghetti at the wall – I hope they are being photographed for posterity.


:flushed: No freaking way!

For those of you who missed the Alfa Bank article from waaay back just before Election Day. Here it is :point_down:


Here’s another link to various connections between Manafort, Gates, van der Zwaan Dutch Lawyer Case Connects Gates to Russian Intelligence | Committee to Investigate Russia

However, van der Zwaan does have an interesting familial connection.


Van der Zwaan's father-in-law, the Russian billionaire German Khan, who co-founded Alfa Group, a large financial conglomerate, was recently named in the Treasury Department's list of Russian oligarchs. (He also is suing BuzzFeed News over its publication of the Steele dossier.)

CNN reported last year that the FBI examined whether there was a computer server connection during the 2016 presidential campaign between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization, though there isn't any indication that van der Zwaan is connected to that matter. At the time, Alfa Bank said in a statement that US-based hackers had launched cyberattacks to try to frame the bank, and "to manufacture the illusion of contact" between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization.

Unlike four other defendants in the Mueller probe who have pleaded guilty to criminal charges, van der Zwaan did not enter into an ongoing cooperation agreement with the special counsel's office.
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We do seem to be at a tipping point, seeing a lot of smoke (smoking gun) and hearing about Manafort’s end game wanting just to be pardoned, as if he’s already admitted wrong doing but Trump will see him out of this mess.

Today’s reporting on the late stages of the Trump campaign and now finding out that Manafort, Gates, van der Zwaan team were getting good intel from the Russians, and whether they will try to spin it all towards their Ukraine interests who knows. But it does seem like a huuuuuge revelation.

I try to do a bit of looking around for those who make sense of it all. I checked Scott Dworkin’s twitter feed

As far as breaking it down, and white boarding…I remember reading thru millions of tweets with some of early diagrammers…Scott Dworkin @funder being one of them. He makes this point about what’s being revealed here. Worth a read.

Dworkin has been an Obama supporter, but may have been maligned over his organization taking too many funds for the Dems in a recent campaign…
Posting this review in Medium (I don’t rely on this…Matt does not care for it as a source :slight_smile: Twitter Star Scott Dworkin aka “@Funder” Plans to Take Down Trump After He Funds Himself | by Amy Sterling Casil | Medium

Here’s more on Konstantin Kilimnik, who’s been under FBI’s scrutiny…He is considered Person A.

Carter Page had a meeting with him as well.

Article excerpt
"The operative, Konstantin Kilimnik, came under scrutiny from officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Department partly because of at least two trips he took to the U.S. during the presidential campaign, according to three international political operatives familiar with the agencies’ interest in Kilimnik.

Kilimnik, a joint Russian-Ukrainian citizen who trained in the Russian army as a linguist, told operatives in Kiev and Washington that he met with Manafort during an April trip to the United States. And, after a late summer trip to the U.S., Kilimnik suggested that he had played a role in gutting a proposed amendment to the Republican Party platform that would have staked out a more adversarial stance towards Russia, according to a Kiev operative.

The FBI declined to comment on Kilimnik, while the State Department did not respond to a request for comment. It’s unclear whether either agency launched any kind of official inquiry into Kilimnik, nor is it clear whether the interest from the U.S. authorities is ongoing. "


@dragonfly9 Good article. So let me get this straight, Manafort and Kilimnik start a Private Equity Fund together backed by Russian Oligarch Deripaska, then use those funds to support a Pro-Russian former Prime Minster of Ukraine Yanukovych in his re-election. Manafort and Kilimnik get paid millions. Then Yanukovych after accused of corruption, then resigns and retreats to Russia. If that wasn’t enough, Manafort and Kilimnik then start a new party in the Ukraine called Opposition Bloc, who ends up firing Manafort and not paying him. That’s quite an adventure!

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Yes Pet_Proletariat - this group is emeshed, supporting Russian interests, and sticking with their story of ‘we needed to see if we had gotten paid’, that’s why we Manafort/Killimnik were in touch with one another.

And whatever happens in the trial, there has always been a situation Manafort especially has been dealing with - he was deeply broke, and upped the stakes quite a bit to get his loan money covered.

Follow the 2nd round of indictments for Manafort, Gates, etc (Virginia Courts - the ones Manafort wants Mueller to drop) Mueller imposed big bail restrictions.

It is always about FOLLOWING THE MONEY…see bit of article Former Trump Campaign Head Manafort Was Paid Millions By A Putin Ally, AP Says : The Two-Way : NPR

In the indictment released Thursday, prosecutors allege Manafort and Gates “hid the existence and ownership of the foreign companies and bank accounts” they oversaw and laundered more than $30 million in income.
Some of the fraud was possible because the men disguised their income as “loans” from shell corporations they ran, the prosecutors said.
More than $75 million flowed through offshore accounts the men had set up in foreign countries, including Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles, the indictment alleges. These are small island nations where local laws make it easy to park money.
Manafort used some of the money to buy real estate in the US, and they both used the money on home improvement and to refinance their mortgages, the indictment alleges. They also allegedly used money from their offshore accounts to pay for luxury goods, and, in Gates’ case, for his mortgage and children’s tuition. Manafort allegedly laundered and hid from the federal government $30 million in income with Gates’ assistance, prosecutors said, while Gates allegedly gained $3 million through the offshore accounts.
They were able to defraud banks because of the tens of millions of dollars they earned doing Ukrainian political work and lobbying from 2006 until 2015, the prosecutors allege. When the income “dwindled” after Manafort’s client fled Ukraine for Russia, he lied — with Gates’ help – about their companies’ worth to obtain millions of dollars in mortgages and didn’t pay taxes on their newfound riches, prosecutors allege.
Manafort faces 18 new charges in Virginia, while Gates faces 23 new charges. If found guilty of bank fraud, the defendants could each face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of as much as $1 million.
Already, the pair face a combined 12 criminal charges in federal court in Washington, DC, for alleged money laundering and failing to disclose banking information and foreign lobbying work they did prior to 2015. A handful of those charges are connected to the charges related to offshore accounts in the new indictment.
Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to the charges they face in DC in October.
Mueller’s prosecutors recently told Manafort and Gates they could choose to face the Virginia indictment in DC instead as part of the case that is already open, but Manafort refused.
The prosecutors also “met with defense counsel to go over the proof underlying the bank fraud charges” and to hear their arguments on why they should not face a new indictment, according to a report the prosecutors made to the judge in DC on Thursday.
Both Manafort and Gates visited the federal courthouse in Washington on Tuesday without their lawyers for reasons that are still unclear. Neither answered questions from reporters.
A sealed charge was filed in Washington in their case on Wednesday, and it’s not known what it is about or who faces those additional federal charges.
Pressure to plea?
Thursday’s indictment adds more pressure on Manafort and Gates as their Washington trial approaches later this year. No date has been set for a trial.

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@dragonfly9 wow just wow, thanks for posting. Do you have the source for the quote below handy?

Pet_Proletariat Yes, sorry…that was an article story from CNN in Feb 23, 2018

Aren’t there something like 11 sealed indictments somewhere?..I remember hearing Rachel Maddow talk about something like this recently.



Yes I heard that too, about the sealed indictments, not sure it was on Maddow. I only watch Maddow for her Departures List. I did a quick search but didn’t find much. Thanks for the link.

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Here’s an example of more people (George Nader) cooperating with Mueller while Trump can’t find any legal counsel. Doesn’t seem like this is going to end well…

This Fresh Air was interesting in that Trump is like chum - sharks are highly attracted to him. And terrifying in that, like the private VPN mentioned earlier, Trump loves these “back channel” communications. And he’s so easily persuaded by all sorts of simple arguments. When Mueller started, he only had campaign and transition team infractions, now a whole year of additional crimes are available for him to add to the investigation.


But I thought that’s only if there’s no legal challenge to a president pardoning co-conspirators? And Pence had to be in on this too, that’s the thing? I can’t imagine a lack of challenges, as this mess is FAR more than what Nixon pulled…it’s not even close. I’m no legal eagle either, but I think if any of that were to occur, they might as well try to indict a sitting president? With all that’s gone on & the mountain of evidence…?
I’m sure Manafort, with all his money & high-priced attorneys, want to believe he’ll get away with this, but I sure hope he’s wrong.


I’ve seen this information a few places now & it makes me feel a whole lot better as all this talk of trump pardons continues in the media. It almost feels like a trap they’d love trump & his legal team to step right on in, lol. And of course there are many parallel charges at state level too now that trump cannot pardon no matter what.