Rachel Maddow’s excellent reporting on developments in the Russia investigation continued with the news that a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia issued subpoenas related to Paul Manafort.
This is the same district that is investigating Michael Flynn, which Maddow suggests is indicative of efforts to consolidate the investigation based on two main points. First, the Eastern District of Virginia is right outside of DC. Second, the Eastern District handles national security cases with an intelligence component. Maddow said that while the practice may make sense on paper, it’s weird.
Maddow’s analysis is based on a Washington Post story that revealed Konstantin Kiliminik’s name appeared on a “previously undisclosed subpoena sought by Federal prosecutors looking for information “concerning contracts for work …. Communication or other records of correspondence” related to two dozen people associated with Manafort or his wife. The inclusion of Manafort’s wife is a new development.
The fact about Kiliminik that most stands out is the reporting that he was trained as a Russian spy. In fact, that’s where he learned how to speak English well enough to head the U.S. based International Republican Institute for 10 years before he was forced out because of suspicions of his ties to Russia.
Kiliminik figures prominently as the person who, for 10 years, ran the Ukraine Office of Manafort’s political consulting business. He and Manafort also met twice during the brief period that Manafort was Trump’s campaign chair.
Rachel Maddow also reported that Kiliminik went back to Russia and bragged about his ability to influence the mysterious change in the Republican Party’s platform on Ukraine to make it more “Russia friendly.”
The subpoena that names Kiliminik doesn’t specify if it was related to the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election or if it’s limited to an investigation of Manafort’s business activities. However, we do know that investigators in the Eastern District of Virginia are assisting in the Russia investigation. It’s worth noting this subpoena was issued before Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed.
Maddow points to another set of coincidences involving the DOJ. Trump fired all but two U.S. attorneys. One of them is Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney-General. The second person is Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Boente heads the national security division at the DOJ.
We do know there is at least one grand jury empaneled in East Virginia to investigate Russia’s interference in our elections. That is Boente’s district and Boente runs the DOJ’s national security division.
Above all else, Trump can tweet all he wants. This isn’t going away.