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Via FBI

The U.S. government has sanctioned Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian political consultant indicted in the Mueller investigation in 2018, for carrying out election influence operations on behalf of Russian intelligence services.

The big picture: The Senate Intelligence Committee's report on 2016 Russian election interference assessed that Kilimnik, who worked with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort as a lobbyist for the pro-Russia president of Ukraine, is a Russian intelligence officer.

  • The investigation found that on numerous occasions, Manafort sought to pass sensitive internal polling data and campaign strategy to Kilimnik. The committee was unable to determine why or what Kilimnik did with that information, in part due to the pair's use of encrypted messaging apps.
  • The committee did obtain "some information" suggesting Kilimnik "may have been connected" to Russia's hacking and leaking of Democratic emails. The section detailing these findings is largely redacted, however.

The intrigue: The U.S. government stated for the first time Thursday that Kilimnik provided Russian intelligence "with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy" during the 2016 election — filling a key link that had been left unanswered by both special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee.

  • The Treasury Department also noted that Kilimnik, who is wanted by the FBI on charges of obstruction of justice, sought to promote the false narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election.
  • He also sought to orchestrate a plan to return former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to power, according to Treasury. Yanukovych fled to Russia in 2014 after being ousted in the Ukrainian Revolution.

Go deeper: U.S. imposes sweeping sanctions targeting Russian economy

Go deeper

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutor to seek hate crime charges, death penalty in Atlanta shootings

In Hopkinton, Mass., the Rally & Run To Stop Asian Hate is held to show solidarity in the wake of deadly Atlanta shootings and to mourn the loss of eight lives including six Asian women. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Prosecutors unveiled murder charges against the white man accused of shooting and killing eight people, six of whom were Asian women, at Atlanta-area spas, AP reports.

Driving the news: A prosecutor filed notice that she plans to seek hate crime charges and the death penalty in the case. Two separate grand juries have now indicted the suspect on murder charges.

America's pandemic coin crunch returns

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An early pandemic problem that plagued businesses is back: not enough change to go around.

Why it matters: The pandemic broke America's coin flow. It has repercussions for millions that rely on it for daily transactions.