Represenative Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also weighed in during a conversation with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“It’s hard to imagine a more boneheaded move if he did this, and I have to think, unless he has really incompetent counsel, his counsel must not have been aware that he was doing this, because he certainly would have advised Manafort not to go near Russians, not to be creating op-eds and ghostwriting them,” he said.
Schiff continued: “There’s no better way to end up having your bail revoked… I can’t imagine under what circumstances Manafort thought this was a good idea.”
Rep. Schiff on Paul Manafort ghostwriting an op-ed with a Russian who has ties to the Russian intel service: "It's hard to imagine a more boneheaded move if he did this. … I can't imagine under what circumstances Manafort thought this was a good idea" https://t.co/fDmVCeRtOi pic.twitter.com/OvdOsX2Fxj
— CNN (@CNN) December 5, 2017
Although yesterday’s motion does not explicitly name who Manafort worked with on the op-ed, a person close to Manafort identified the associate as Konstantin V. Kilimnik. Kilimnik worked for years as Mr. Manafort’s right-hand man in Ukraine and continued communicating with him throughout the 2016 presidential campaign,” according to The New York Times.
Manafort and Kilimnik communicated regularly during last year’s presidential campaign, and Kilimnik, who maintains residences in both Moscow and Kiev, traveled to the United States to meet with Manafort at least twice. Kilimnik did not respond to a request for comment yesterday afternoon. Earlier this year, he denied connections with Russian intelligence. An investigation conducted by Ukranian prosecutors into Kilimnik’s possible links to Russian spy agencies closed last year, and no charges were filed.
Manafort, who once served as President Donald Trump’s campaign manager before a shake-up last summer which landed Kellyanne Conway the position, was charged, along with his longtime business partner Rick Gates with 12 counts of “conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.”