FILE PHOTO: President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort departs U.S. District Court after a motions hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., May 4,...
Jonathan Ernst

Why the latest indictments in the Mueller probe pack a potent punch


The Rachel Maddow Show, 6/8/18, 9:31 PM ET

Manafort's fate turned with the political interests in Ukraine

Julia Ioffe, contributing writer to The Atalantic, talks with Rachel Maddow about the chaotic political conditions in Ukraine in which Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Konstantine Kilimnik worked together, and Ukraine’s apparent deal with
Paul Manafort, who led Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016, was already facing multiple criminal counts, brought against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team, but late last week, the story grew a little more serious.

As Rachel noted on the show, the case against the president’s former campaign chief expanded to include Konstantin Kilimnik, who is now also facing charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

And who’s Kilimnik? He’s a Russian intelligence operative who has worked with Manafort for years. That, in and of itself, creates a striking dynamic. Rachel put it this way:

“[The latest indictment from Mueller’s investigation] means for all of us that – you and I together, us as a country, us as citizens – we’ve now reached the point in American history and in our lives where the sitting president’s campaign chairman is jointly charged in a felony indictment with a Russian intelligence operative.”

That’s amazing on its own terms, and it raises a related question for the White House: how long does Donald Trump seriously intend to keep up the “witch hunt” nonsense?

With the addition of Kilimnik, there are now 20 people who’ve been charged by the special counsel’s team – some of whom have already pleaded guilty – in addition to three businesses. The new total features 75 criminal charges in all. One person has already been incarcerated.

The president may not want to hear this, but witch hunts are pointless pursuits. Mueller’s investigation into the Russia scandal isn’t a witch hunt.

Russia and Scandals

Why the latest indictments in the Mueller probe pack a potent punch