How Manafort’s 2016 meeting with a Russian employee at New York cigar club goes to ‘the heart’ of Mueller’s probe

HayJenn

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Jul 2014
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The 2016 nominating conventions had recently concluded and the presidential race was hitting a new level of intensity when Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, ducked into an unusual dinner meeting at a private cigar room a few blocks away from the campaign’s Trump Tower headquarters in Manhattan. Court records show Manafort was joined at some point by his campaign deputy, Rick Gates, at the session at the Grand Havana Room, a mahogany-paneled room with floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the city.

The two Americans met with an overseas guest, a longtime employee of their international consulting business who had flown to the United States for the gathering: a Russian political operative named Konstantin Kilimnik. The Aug. 2, 2016, encounter between the senior Trump campaign officials and Kilimnik, who prosecutors allege has ties to Russian intelligence, has emerged in recent days as a potential fulcrum in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.

It was at that meeting that prosecutors believe Manafort and Kilimnik may have exchanged key information relevant to Russia and Trump’s presidential bid. The encounter goes “very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating,” prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told a federal judge in a sealed hearing last week. One subject the men discussed was a proposed resolution to the conflict over Ukraine, an issue of great interest to the Russian government, according to a partially redacted transcript of the Feb. 4 hearing.

During the hearing, the judge also appeared to allude to another possible interaction at the Havana Room gathering: a handoff by Manafort of internal polling data from Trump’s presidential campaign to his Russian associate. The new details provide a rare hint at what Mueller is examining in the final stretch of his nearly 21-month-old investigation — and underscore his deep interest in the Grand Havana Room gathering, which ended with the three men leaving through separate doors, as Judge Amy Berman Jackson noted. Weissmann said in the hearing that one of the special counsel’s main tasks is to examine contacts between Americans and Russia during the 2016 race and determine whether Trump associates conspired with the Russian-backed interference campaign.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/poli...a5b113ecd3c_story.html?utm_term=.c130a276bc88

It's rare that even one person who is part of Mueller "team" speaks out in court like this.

So the idea that his investigation is going to "wrap up" soon, seems very unlikely.

Looks like to me they are still looking at possible "collusion" .