Accused Russian Intel Asset Teamed Up With GOP Operative

Source: Daily Beast | April 4, 2018 | Lachlan Markay

Konstantin Kilimnik found himself a partner in Sam Patten, a lobbyist and political hand who just happens to have worked previously for Cambridge Analytica

As 2016 campaign season neared, a Russian national who Special Counsel Robert Mueller now believes was working with the country’s intelligence services founded a consulting firm in Washington D.C.

Begemot Ventures International was incorporated in February 2015, occupying an office on Constitution Avenue. Like other firms in the nation’s capital it offered services catering to the politically inclined. But unlike those other shops, Begemot had executives tied not just to an alleged Russian influence campaign, but also a controversial data firm that would later help elect President Donald Trump.

The space that the firm continues to occupy also houses the offices of Sam Patten, a Republican lobbyist and foreign policy consultant who had previously worked to hone the firm Cambridge Analytica’s microtargeting operation during the 2014 midterm election cycle. They don’t just share a location either. Patten is listed as one of two Begemot executives in Washington D.C. incorporation records.

The other is Konstantin Kilimnik, who is currently front-and-center in the federal investigation into Russian government meddling in the 2016 presidential election. A recent court filing by Mueller alleged that “Person A”—believed to be Kilimnik—“has ties to Russian intelligence service and had such ties in 2016.”

Kilimnik has a years-long professional relationship with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, whom Mueller has accused of illegally advancing the interests of foreign clients in the U.S. Kilimnik was a frequent intermediary between Manafort and Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, to whom Manafort offered private briefings on the 2016 presidential race. Kilimnik has long been suspected of having worked with or for Russian intelligence services in the past. But Mueller’s allegations are so explosive because they allege such ties continued through the presidential election—ties that would, by virtue of Kilimnik’s association with Manafort, represent the Trump campaign’s closest known link to Kremlin operatives.

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Mueller’s team is examining the role that Cambridge Analytica played in Trump’s election victory, but there is no indication that Patten’s work for the firm is problematic or of any interest to the special counsel’s investigation. Patten himself played down the connection, saying his work for the firm was “wholly unconnected” to Begemot and Kilimnik.

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