government blamed Russia for a politically damaging hack of the Democratic National Committee, and finally Trump called for Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, though he later said he was “being sarcastic.” Joking aside, Trump has demonstrated more interest in Russia’s affairs than in perhaps any other area of foreign policy.
With Trump receiving his first classified security briefings, and concerns about him spiking in the intelligence community, talk of Kilimnik’s connections to Russian intelligence — combined with his affiliation with the Russia-allied Opposition Bloc — could become a liability for Trump, predict associates of Manafort and Kilimnik.
But he spent most of the past three decades carving out a lucrative niche as a globe-trotting consultant to deep-pocketed foreign politicians and businessmen often looking to buff away stains on their reputations from allegations of corruption, plundering or human rights abuses.
Kilimnik assumed many of his duties, taking charge of Manafort’s Kiev office and running the operation while Manafort was out of the country, which was much of the time, according to people who worked with and around Manafort’s firm.
When the party stopped paying its bills, Manafort’s Kiev office, which was being run by Kilimnik, began running late on its rent and employees’ salaries, according to several people familiar with the situation.