This distillation of The Mueller Report focuses on Paul Manafort. The subject of Paul Manafort is very important as of this date, 11/9/2019, because Rudy Giuliani, in his work in Ukraine, is consulting with Manafort who is in prison serving time on the felonies having to do with his shady work in Ukraine. You will want to be reading Rachel Maddow’s book, Blow Out, with this post. She graphically details Manafort’s corrupt work in the Ukraine in support of Putin-backed Ukrainian former president, Yanukovych and so is an excellent adjunct to the rather dry FBI account of Manafort’s doings.
Note: Most square brackets [ ] are mine to clarify points. Some are Mueller’s. Mueller’s are identified as such. The numbers are the number references to footnotes so that you can find easily where the passages come in The Mueller Report.
From The Mueller Report:
In approximately 2005, Paul Manafort began working for Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who has a global empire involving aluminum and power companies and who is closely aligned with Vladimir Putin.843 A memorandum describing work that Manafort performed for Deripaska in 2005 regarding the post-Soviet republics referenced the need to brief the Kremlin and the benefits that the work could confer on “the Putin Government.” 844 Gates described the work Manafort did for Deripaska as “political risk insurance,” and explained that Deripaska used Manafort to install friendly political officials in countries where Deripaska had business interests.845 Manafort’s company earned tens of millions of dollars from its work for Deripaska and was loaned millions of dollars by Deripaska as well.846
In 2007, Deripaska invested through another entity in Pericles Emerging Market Partners L.P. (“Pericles”), an investment fund created by Manafort and former Manafort business partner Richard Davis. The Pericles fund was established to pursue investments in Eastern Europe.847 Deripaska was the sole investor. 848 Gates stated in interviews with the Office that the venture led to a deterioration of the relationship between Manafort and Deripaska. 849 In pa1ticular, when the fund failed, litigation between Manafort and Deripaska ensued. Gates stated that, by 2009, Manafort’s business relationship with Deripaska had “dried up.”850 According to Gates, various interactions with Deripaska and his intermediaries over the past few years have involved trying to resolve the legal dispute. 851 As described below, in 2016, Manafort, Gates, Kilimnik, and others engaged in efforts to revive the Deripaska relationship and resolve the litigation.
Through Deripaska, Manafort was introduced to Rinat Akhmetov , a Ukrainian oligarch who hired Manafort as a political consultant. 852 In 2005, Akhmetov hired Manafort to engage in political work supporting the Party of Regions, 853 a political party in Ukraine that was generally understood to align with Russia. Manafort assisted the Party of Regions in regaining power, and its candidate, Viktor Yanukovych , won the presidency in 2010. Manafort became a close and trusted political advisor to Yanukovych during his time as President of Ukraine. Yanukovych served in that role until 2014, when he fled to Russia amidst popular protests. 854
In March 2016, Paul Manafort traveled to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to meet with Trump. Trump hired him at that time.877 Manafort agreed to work on the Campaign without pay. Manafort served on the Trump Campaign from late March to August 19, 2016. On March 29, 2016, the Campaign announced that Manafort would serve as the Campaign’s “Convention Manager.” 871 On May 19, 2016 , Manafort was promoted to campaign chairman and chief strategist, and William Gates, who had been assisting Manafort on the Campaign and a long time employee of Manafort’s, was appointed deputy campaign chairman. 872 Manafort had no meaningful income at this point in time, but resuscitating his domestic political campaign career could be financially beneficial in the future. William Gates reported that Manafort intended, if Trump won the Presidency, to remain outside the Administration and monetize his relationship with the Administration. 878
Gates further reported that Manafort said that being hired on the Campaign would increase the likelihood that Manafort would be paid the approximately $2 million he was owed for previous political consulting work in Ukraine. 884 Gates also explained to the Office that Manafort thought his role on the Campaign could help “confirm” that Deripaska had dropped the Pericles lawsuit, and that Gates believed Manafort sent polling data to Deripaska ( as discussed further below) so that Deripaska would not move forward with his lawsuit against Manafort .885 Gates further stated that Deripaska wanted a visa to the United States, that Deripaska could believe that having Manafort in a position inside the Campaign or Administration might be helpful to Deripaska, and that Manafort’s relationship with Trump could help Deripaska in other ways as well. 886 Gates stated, however, that Manafort never told him anything specific about what, if anything, Manafort might be offering Deripaska. 887
Immediately upon joining the Campaign, Manafort directed Gates to prepare for his review separate memoranda addressed to Deripaska, Akhmetov, Serhiy Lyovochkin, and Boris Kolesnikov, 879 the last three being Ukrainian oligarchs who were senior Opposition Bloc officials. 880 The memoranda described Manafort’ s appointment to the Trump Campaign and indicated his willingness to consult on Ukrainian politics in the future. On March 30, 2016, Gates emailed the memoranda and a press release announcing Manafort’ s appointment to Konstantin Kilimnik for translation and dissemination. 881
Manafort’s Russian contacts during the campaign and transition periods stemmed from his consulting work for Deripaska from approximately 2005 to 2009 and his separate political consulting work in Ukraine from 2005 to 2015, including through his company Dl\1P International LLC (DMI). Kilimnik worked for Manafort in Kiev during this entire period and continued to communicate with Manafort through at least June 2018.
Kilimnik is a Russian national who has lived in both Russia and Ukraine and was a longtime Manafort employee. 855 Kilimnik had direct and close access to Yanukovych, [the Putin backed] former president of Ukraine whom Paul Manafort worked to put in office. Kilimnik also had direct access to Yanukovich’s senior entourage. Kilimnik facilitated communications between Manafort and his clients, including Yanukovych and multiple Ukrainian oligarchs. 856 Kilimnik also maintained a relationship with Deripaska’s deputy, Viktor Boyarkin, 857 a Russian national who previously served in the defense attache office of the Russian Embassy to the United States.858
Manafort followed up with Kilimnik to ensure his messages had been delivered, emailing on April 11, 2016 to ask whether Kilimnik had shown “our friends” the media coverage of his new role.882 Kilimnik replied, “Absolutely. Every article.” Manafort further asked: “How do we use to get whole. Has Ovd [Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska, Mueller’s brackets] operation seen?” Kilimnik wrote back the same day, “Yes, I have been sending everything to Victor [Boyarkin, Deripaska’s deputy, Mueller’s brackets], who has been forwarding the coverage directly to OVD.” 883 Manafort stayed in touch with these contacts during the campaign period through Konstantin Kilimnik, who previously ran Manafort ‘s office in Kiev and whom the FBI assesses to have ties to Russian intelligence.
On August 2, 2016, while he was Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort met in New York City with Konstantin Kilimnik. Kilimnik requested the meeting to deliver in person a message from former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was then living in Russia. The message was about a peace plan for Ukraine that Manafort has since acknowledged was a “backdoor ” means for Russia to control eastern Ukraine. Several months later, after the presidential election, Kilimnik wrote an email to Manafort expressing the view–which Manafort later said he share–that the plan ‘s success would require U.S. support to succeed: “all that is required to start the process is a very minor ‘wink’ ( or slight push) from [Donald Trump, Mueller’s brackts].”840 The email also stated that if Manafort were designated as the U.S. representative and started the process, Yanukovych would ensure his reception in Russia “at the very top level.”
Manafort communicated with Kilimnik about peace plans for Ukraine on at least four occasions after their first discussion of the topic on August 2: December 2016 (the Kilimnik email described above); January 2017; February 2017; and again in the spring of 2018. The Office reviewed numerous Manafort email and text communications, and asked President Trump about the plan in written questions. 841
Manafort twice met with Kilimnik in person during the campaign period–once in May and again in August 2016. The first meeting took place on May 7, 2016, in New York City.905 In the days leading to the meeting, Kilimnik had been working to gather information about the political situation in Ukraine. That included information gleaned from a trip that former Party of Regions official Yuriy Boyko had recently taken to Moscow–a trip that likely included meetings between Boyko and high-ranking Russian officials. 906 Kilimnik then traveled to Washington, D.C. on or about May 5, 2016; while in Washington, Kilimnik had pre-arranged meetings with State Department employees. 907
Late on the evening of May 6, Gates arranged for Kilimnik to take a 3:00 a.m. train to meet Manafort in New York for breakfast on May 7. 908 According to Manafort, during the meeting, he and Kilimnik talked about events in Ukraine, and Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the Trump Campaign, expecting Kilimnik to pass the information back to individuals in Ukraine and elsewhere. 909 Manafort stated that Opposition Bloc members [Putin supporters intent on securing Ukraine for Putin] recognized Manafort ‘s position on the Campaign was an opportunity, but Kilimnik did not ask for anything. 91° Kilimnik spoke about a plan of Boyko to boost election participation in the eastern zone of Ukraine, which was the base for the Opposition Bloc.911 Kilimnik returned to Washington, D.C. right after the meeting with Manafort.
Manafort met with Kilimnik a second time at the Grand Havana Club in New York City on the evening of August 2, 2016 . The [cloak and dagger!] events leading to the meeting are as follows. On July 28, 2016, Kilimnik flew from Kiev to Moscow .912 The next day, Kilimnik wrote to Manafort requesting that they meet, using coded language about a conversation he had that day.913 In an email with a subject line “Black Caviar,” Kilimnik wrote:
“I met today with the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar several years ago. We spent about 5 hours talking about his story, and I have several important messages from him to you. He asked me to go and brief you on our conversation. I said I have to run it by you first, but in principle I am prepared to do it. … It has to do about the future of his country, and is quite interesting.914”
Manafort identified “the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar” as Yanukovych. He explained that, in 2010, he and Yanukovych had lunch to celebrate the recent presidential election. Yanukovych gave Manafort a large jar of black caviar that was worth approximately $30,000 to $40,000.915 Manafort’s identification of Yanukovych as “the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar” is consistent with Kilimnik being in Moscow–where Yanukovych resided–when Kilimnik wrote “I met today with a December 2016 email in which Kilimnik referred to Yanukovych as “BG,” 916. Manafort replied to Kilimnik’s July 29 email, “Tuesday [August 2] is best . .. Tues or weds in NYC.”9 17
Three days later, on July 31, 2016, Kilimnik flew back to Kiev from Moscow, and on that same day, wrote to Manafort that he needed “about 2 hours” for their meeting “because it is a long caviar story to tell.”918 Kilimnik wrote that he would arrive at JFK on August 2 at 7:30 p.m., and he and Manafort agreed to a late dinner that night.919 Documentary evidence–including flight, phone, and hotel records, and the timing of text messages exchanged920–confirms the dinner took place as planned on August 2.921
As to the contents of the meeting itself, the accounts of Manafort and Gates–who arrived late to the dinner–differ in certain respects. But their versions of events, when assessed alongside available documentary evidence and what Kilimnik told business associate Sam Patten, indicate that at least three principal topics were discussed.
First, Manafort and Kilimnik discussed a plan to resolve the ongoing political problems in Ukraine by creating an autonomous republic in its more industrialized eastern region of Donbas, 922 and having Yanukovych, the Ukrainian President ousted in 2014, elected to head that republic. 923 That plan, Manafort later acknowledged, constituted a “backdoor” means for Russia to control eastern Ukraine.924 Manafort initially said that, if he had not cut off the discussion, Kilimnik would have asked Manafort in the August 2 meeting to convince Trump to come out in favor of the peace plan, and Yanukovych would have expected Manafort to use his connections in Europe and Ukraine to support the plan.925 Manafort also initially told the Office that he had said to Kilimnik that the plan was crazy, that the discussion ended, and that he did not recall Kilimnik asking Manafort to reconsider the pIan after their August 2 meeting.926 Manafort said that he reacted negatively to Yanukovych sending–years later–an “urgent” request when Yanukovych needed him.927 When confronted with an email written by Kilimnik on or about December 8, 2016, however, Manafort acknowledged Kilimnik raised the peace plan again in that email. 928 Manafort ultimately acknowleded Kilimnik also raised the peace pIan in Jary 2017 meetings with Manafort … 929
Second, Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the state of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s plan to win the election. 930 That briefing encompassed the Campaign’s messaging and its internal polling data. According to Gates, it also included discussion of “battleground” states, which Manafort identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. 931 Manafort did not refer explicitly to “battle ground” states in his telling of the August 2 discussion.
Third, according to Gates and what Kilimnik told Patten, Manafort and Kilimnik discussed two sets of financial disputes related to Mana fort’s previous work in the region. Those consisted of the unresolved Deripaska lawsuit and the funds that the Opposition Bloc owed to Manafort for his political consulting work and how Manafort might be able to obtain payment.933
Footnote 922: The Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republic , which are located in the Donbas region of Ukraine, declared themselves independent in response to the popular unrest in 2014 that removed President Yanukovych from power. Pro-Russian Ukrainian militia forces, with backing from the Russian military, have occupied the region since 2014. Under the Yanukovych-backed plan, Russia would assist in withdrawing the military, and Donbas would become an autonomous region within Ukraine with its own prime minister. The plan emphasized that Yanukovych would be an ideal candidate to bring peace to the region as prime minister of the republic, and facilitate the reintegration of the Ukraine with the support of the U.S. and Russian presidents. As noted above, according to the written documentation described in the pIan, for the plan to work, both U.S. and Russian support were necessary. [end of footnote]
After the meeting, Gates and Manafort both stated that they left separately from Kilimnik because they knew the media was tracking Manafort and wanted to avoid media reporting on his connections to Kilimnik.934
Gates also reported that Manafort instructed him in April 2016 or early May 2016 to send Kilimnik Campaign internal polling data and other updates so that Kilimnik, in turn, could share it with Ukrainian oligarchs.888 Manafort claims not to recall that specific instruction. Kilimnik, who speaks and writes Ukrainian and Russian, facilitated many of Manafort’s communications with Deripaska and Ukrainian oligarchs. Gates understood that the information would also be shared with Deripaska and others in Ukraine . 889 Gates reported to the Office that he did not know why Manafort wanted him to send polling information , but Gates thought it was a way to showcase Manafort ‘s work, and Manafort wanted to open doors to jobs after the Trump Campaign ended. 890 Gates said that Manafort ‘s instruction included sending internal polling data prepared for the Trump Campaign by pollster Tony Fabrizio. 891 Fabrizio had worked with Manafort for years and was brought into the Campaign by Manafort . Gates stated that, in accordance with Manafort’s instructions, he periodically sent Kilimnik polling data via WhatsApp ; Gates then deleted the communications on a daily basis. 892 Gates further told the Office that, after Manafort left the Campaign in mid-August, Gates sent Kilimnik polling data less frequently and that the data he sent was more publicly available information and less internal data. 893
The Office could not reliably determine Manafort’s purpose in sharing internal polling data with Kilimnik during the campaign period. Manafort…[redacted phrase]…did not see a downside to sharing campaign information, and told Gates that his role in the Campaign would be “good for business” and potentially a way to be made whole for work he previously completed in the Ukraine. As to Deripaska, Manafort claimed that by sharing campaign information with him, Deripaska might see value in their relationship and resolve a “disagreement”–a reference to one or more outstanding lawsuits. Because of questions about Manafort ‘s credibility and our limited ability to gather evidence on what happened to the polling data after it was sent to Kilimnik, the Office could not assess what Kilimnik (or others he may have given it to) did with it.
Manafort told the Office that he did not believe Kilimnik was working as a Russian “spy .”859 The FBI, however, assesses that Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence. 860 Several pieces of the Office ‘s evidence–-including witness interviews and emails obtained through court- authorized search warrants–support that assessment:
- Kilimnik was born on April 27, 1970, in Dnipropetrovsk Ob last, then of the Soviet Union , and attended the Military Institute of the Ministry of Defense from 1987 until 1992.861 Sam Patten, a business partner to Kilimnik, 862 stated that Kilimnik told him that he was a translator in the Russian army for seven years and that he later worked in the Russian armament industry selling arms and military equipment. 863
- U.S. government visa records reveal that Kilimnik obtained a visa to travel to the United States with a Russian diplomatic passport in 1997. 864
- Kilimnik worked for the International Republican Institute’ s (IRI) Moscow office, where he did translation work and general office management from 1998 to 2005. 865 While another official recalled the incident differently ,866 one former associate of Kilimnik’s at TRI told the FBI that Kilimnik was fired from his post because his links to Russian intelligence were too strong. The same individual stated that it was well known at IRI that Kilimnik had links to the Russian government. 867
- Jonathan Hawker, a British national who was a public relations consultant at FTI Consulting , worked with DMI on a public relations campaign for Yanukovych. After Hawker ‘s work for DMI ended, Kilimnik contacted Hawker about working for a Russian government entity on a public -relations project that would promote, in Western and Ukrainian media, Russia’s position on its 2014 invasion of Crimea. 868
- Gates suspected that Kilimnik was a “spy,” a view that he shared with Manafort, Hawker, and Alexander van der Zwaan, 869 an attorney who had worked with DMI on a report for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 870
Gates account about polling data is consistent…[redacted sentences]… with multiple emails that Kilimnik sent to U.S. associates and press contacts between late July and mid-August of 2016. Those emails referenced “internal polling,” described the status of the Trump Campaign and Manaport’s role in it, and assessed Trump’s prospects for victory.
The Office also obtained contemporaneous emails that shed light on the purpose of the communications with Deripaska and that are consistent with Gates’s account. For example, in response to a July 7, 20 I 6, email from a Ukrainian reporter about Manafort ‘ s failed Deripaska-backed investment, Manafort asked Kilimnik whether there had been any movement on “this issue with our friend.”897 Gates stated that “our friend” likely referred to Deripaska ,898 and Manafort told the Office that the “issue” (and “our biggest interest,” as stated below) was a solution to the Deripaska-Pericles issue.899 Kilimnik replied:
“I am carefully optimistic on the question of our biggest interest. Our friend [Boyarkin] said there is lately significantly more attention to the campaign in his boss’ [Deripaska ‘s] mind, and he will be most likely looking for ways to reach out to you pretty soon, understanding all the time sensitivity. I am more than sure that it will be resolved and we will get back to the original relationship with V. ‘s boss [Deripaska].” 900
Eight minutes later, Manafort replied that Kilimnik should tell Boyarkin’s “boss,” a reference to Deripaska, “that if he needs private briefings we can accommodate. “901 Manafort has alleged to the Office that he was willing to brief Deripaska only on public campaign matters and gave an example: why Trump selected Mike Pence as the Vice-Presidential running mate.902 Manafort said he never gave Deripaska a briefing. 903 Manafort noted that if Trump won, Deripaska would want to use Manafort to advance whatever interests Deripaska had in the United States and elsewhere. 904
Manafort resigned from the Trump Campaign in mid-August 2016, approximately two weeks after his second meeting with Kilimnik, amidst negative media reporting about his political consulting work for the pro-Russian Party of Regions in Ukraine. Despite his resignation, Manafort continued to offer advice to various Campaign officials through the November election. Manafort told Gates that he still spoke with Kushner, Bannon, and candidate Trump,935 and some of those post-resignation contacts are documented in emails. For example, on October 21, 2016, Manafort sent Kushner an email and attached a strategy memorandum proposing that the Campaign make the case against Clinton “as the failed and corrupt champion of the establishment” and that “Wikileaks provides the Trump campaign the ability to make the case in a very credible way–by using the words of Clinton, its campaign officials and DNC members.”936 Later, in a November 5, 2016 email to Kushner entitled “Securing the Victory,” Manafort stated that he was “really feeling good about our prospects on Tuesday and focusing on preserving the victory,” and that he was concerned the Clinton Campaign would respond to a loss by “moving immediately to discredit the Trump victory and claim voter fraud and cyber-fraud, including the claim that the Russians have hacked into the voting machines and tampered with the results.”937
Trump was elected President on November 8, 2016. Manafort told the Office that, in the wake of Trump’s victory, he was not interested in an Administration job. Manafort instead preferred to stay on the “outside,” and monetize his campaign position to generate business given his familiarity and relationship with Trump and the incoming Administration. 938 Manafort appeared to follow that plan, as he traveled to the Middle East, Cuba, South Korea, Japan, and China and was paid to explain what a Trump presidency would entaii.939
Manafort’ s activities in early 2017 included meetings relating to Ukraine and Russia. The first meeting, which took place in Madrid, Spain in January 2017, was with Georgiy Oganov. Oganov, who had previously worked at the Russian Embassy in the United States, was a senior executive at a Deripaska company and was believed to report directly to Deripaska. 940 Manafort initially denied attending the meeting. When he later acknowledged it, he claimed that the meeting had been arranged by his lawyers and concerned only the Pericles lawsuit.941 Other evidence, however, provides reason to doubt Manafort’s statement that the sole topic of the meeting was the Pericles lawsuit. In particular , text messages to Manafort from a number associated with Kilimnik suggest that Kilimnik and Boyarkin–not Manafort’s counsel–had arranged the meeting between Manafort and Oganov.942 Kilimnik’s message states that the meeting was supposed to be “not about money or Pericles” but instead “about recreating [the] old friendship”–ostensibly between Manafort and Deripaska–”and talking about global politics.”943 Manafort also replied by text that he “needs this finished before Jan. 20,”944 which appears to be a reference to resolving Pericles before the inauguration.
On January 15, 2017, three days after his return from Madrid, Manafort emailed K.T. McFarland, who was at that time designated to be Deputy National Security Advisor and was formally appointed to that position on January 20, 2017.945 Manafort ‘s January 15 email to McFarland stated: “I have some important information I want to share that I picked up on my travels over the last month.” 946 Manafort told the Office that the email referred to an issue regarding Cuba, not Russia or Ukraine, and Manafort had traveled to Cuba in the past month.947 Either way, McFarland–who was advised by Flynn not to respond to the Manafort inquiry–appears not to have responded to Manafort. 948
Manafort told the Office that around the time of the Presidential Inauguration in January, he met with Kilimnik and Ukrainian oligarch Serhiy Lyovochkin at the Westin Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. 949 During this meeting , Kilimnik again discussed the Yanukovych peace plan that he had broached at the August 2 meeting and in a detailed December 8, 2016 message found in Kilimnik’ s DMP email account.950 In that December 8 email, which Manafort acknowledged having read,951 Kilimnik wrote, “all that is required to start the process is a very minor ‘wink’ (or slight push) from DT”–an apparent reference to President–elect Trump-“and a decision to authorize you to be a ‘special representative’ and manage this process.” Kilimnik assured Manafort, with that authority, he “could start the process and within 10 days visit Russia. Yanukovych guarantees your reception at the very top level,” and that “DT could have peace in Ukraine basically within a few months after inauguration.” 952
Manafort sought to qualify his engagement on and support for the plan.
On February 26, 2017, Manafort met Kilimnik in Madrid, where Kilimnik had flown from Moscow.956 In his first two interviews with the Office, Manafort denied meeting with Kilimnik on his Madrid trip and then, after being confronted with documentary evidence that Kilimnik was in Madrid at the same time as him, recognized that he met him in Madrid. Manafort said that Kilimnik had updated him on a criminal investigation into so-called “black ledger” payments to Manafort that was being conducted by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau.957
Manafort remained in contact with Kilimnik throughout 2017 and into the spring of 2018.
958 In resolving whether Manafort breached his cooperation plea agreement by lying to the Office, the district court found that Manafort lied about, among other things, his contacts with Kilimnik regarding the peace plan, including the meeting in Madrid. Manafort 2/13/19 Transcript, at 29-31, 40.
Those contacts included matters pertaining to the criminal charges brought by the Office , 959 and the Ukraine peace plan. In early 2018 , Manafort retained his longtime polling firm to craft a draft poll in Ukraine, sent the pollsters a three-page primer on the plan sent by Kilimnik , and worked with Kilimnik to formulate the polling questions. 960 The primer sent to the pollsters specifically called for the United States and President Trump to support the Autonomous Republic of Donbas with Yanukovych as Prime Minister, 961 and a series of questions in the draft poll asked for opinions on Yanukovych ‘s role in resolving the conflict in Donbas. 962 (The poll was not solely about Donbas; it also sought participants’ views on leaders apart from Yanukovych as they pertained to the 2019 Ukraine presidential election.)
The Office has not uncovered evidence that Manafort brought the Ukraine peace plan to the attention of the Trump Campaign or the Trump Administration. Kilimnik continued his efforts to promote the peace plan to the Executive Branch (e.g., U.S. Department of State) into the summer of 2018.963
Please keep in mind that Mueller and his team ran into the issues of people lying, people claiming the fifth, and documents and people being out of reach of in Europe. Therefore finding no conclusive evidence does not mean there isn’t any. It means the special council could not find it.
End of Distillation of The Mueller Report as regarding Paul Manafort.