Be Wary of Jumping on the Changing Veselnitskaya Claims

Boy oh boy, Natalia Vesenitskaya continues to work the press.

Veselnitskaya reverses a previous claim that the June 9, 2016 meeting didn’t mention the election

Bloomberg has a story based on a two and a half hour interview — on an unspecified date — with the Russian lawyer who met with Don Jr, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016. In it, she adds to the story she has told in the past to claim that Don Jr suggested the US might revisit the Magnitsky sanctions if his dad got elected.

A Russian lawyer who met with President Donald Trump’s oldest son last year says he indicated that a law targeting Russia could be re-examined if his father won the election and asked her for written evidence that illegal proceeds went to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, said in a two-and-a-half-hour interview in Moscow that she would tell these and other things to the Senate Judiciary Committee on condition that her answers be made public, something it hasn’t agreed to. She has received scores of questions from the committee, which is investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Veselnitskaya said she’s also ready — if asked — to testify to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Here’s the line of the story that, if accurate, introduces a damning new aspect of the story.

“Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it,’’ Trump Jr. said of the 2012 law, she recalled. “I understand our side may have messed up, but it’ll take a long time to get to the bottom of it,” he added, according to her.

Perhaps my favorite detail of the story, however, is that she suggests Paul Manafort (the only one known to have taken contemporaneous notes from the meeting) appeared to have been asleep, leaving Don Jr as the only woke witness to what went down.

Kushner left after a few minutes and Manafort appeared to have fallen asleep. “The meeting was a failure; none of us understood what the point of it had been,’’ Veselnitskaya said, adding she had no further contacts with the Trump campaign.

As Bill Browder noted, this marks a change in her story, one which must be contextualized with recent events.

In the days immediately after the story broke, Veselnitskaya released a statement saying nothing about the presidential election came up.

Ms. Veselnitskaya said in a statement on Saturday that “nothing at all about the presidential campaign” was discussed at the Trump Tower meeting. She recalled that after about 10 minutes, either Mr. Kushner or Mr. Manafort left the room.

She said she had “never acted on behalf of the Russian government” and “never discussed any of these matters with any representative of the Russian government.”

Now, she’s claiming different. I’d suggest that this claim, like all that have gone before, should be treated really really skeptically — especially published in the wake of allegations that campaign officials would have walked into that meeting expecting “dirt” to mean emails, not to mention as Veselnitskaya makes another bid to come to the US and Trump prepares to meet directly with Putin.

Veselnitskaya makes this claim as she tries to come to the US and Agalarov attempts to shape the story

Here’s what the recent timeline looks like:

October 4: Burr was asked last month about Veselnitskaya, and suggested SSCI had already reached out.

Q: Is the Russian attorney going to come through, the Russian who met with Donald Trump Jr., she’s offered to come in open committee. Have you reached out to her? Is she one of the 25 on your list?

Burr: How do you know we haven’t already [heard from] her?

October 9: A CNN story produced with involvement of Scott Balber, who is currently representing Aras and Amin Agalarov (who set up the June 9 meeting in the first place), but who has represented Trump in the past, attempts to rebut the public comments and presumed testimony of Rod Goldstone on two points. First, that the meeting was about dealing dirt, and second, that it was about anything but the Magnitsky sanctions.

The documents were provided by Scott Balber, who represents Aras and Emin Agalarov, the billionaire real estate developer and his pop star son who requested the June 2016 meeting.

Balber, who went to Moscow to obtain the documents from Veselnitskaya, said in an interview with CNN that the emails and talking points show she was focused on repealing the Magnitsky Act, not providing damaging information on Clinton.
The message was muddled, Balber said, when it was passed like a game of telephone from Veselnitskaya through the Agalarovs to Goldstone.

Balber also suggested that Goldstone “probably exaggerated and maybe willfully contorted the facts for the purpose of making the meeting interesting to the Trump people.”

Goldstone declined to comment for this story.

“The documents and what she told me are consistent with my client’s understanding of the purpose of the meeting which was from the beginning and at all times thereafter about her efforts to launch a legislative review of the Magnitsky Act,” Balber said.

October 18: Chuck Grassley sends a long list of questions to Veselnitskaya, demanding a response to schedule a transcribed, non-public interview, by October 20. Incidentally, I find this to be the most curious of the questions.

Did Mr. Goldstone or anyone else discuss a proposal regarding Vkontakte (VK) during the June 9, 2016 meeting?

October 19: In remarks in Sochi, amid a complaint about Magnitsky sanctions, Putin tells listeners to look at American sources for details of Ziff political contributions, closely mirroring the talking points now claimed to derived from Veselnitskaya.

What do I think about what you have just said, about Canada joining or wanting to join, or about somebody else wanting to do it? These are all some very unconstructive political games over things, which are in essence not what they look like, to be treated in such a way or to fuss about so much. What lies underneath these events? Underneath are the criminal activities of an entire gang led by one particular man, I believe Browder is his name, who lived in the Russian Federation for ten years as a tourist and conducted activities, which were on the verge of being illegal, by buying Russian company stock without any right to do so, not being a Russian resident, and by moving tens and hundreds of millions of dollars out of the country and hence avoiding any taxes not only here but in the United States as well.

According to open sources, I mean American open sources, please look up Ziff Brothers, the company Mr Browder was connected with, which has been sponsoring the Democratic Party and, substantially less, the Republican Party during recent years. I think the latest transfer, in the open sources I mean, was $1,200,000 for the Democratic Party. This is how they protect themselves.

In Russia, Mr Browder was sentenced in his absence to 9 years in prison for his scam. However, no one is working on it. Our prosecution has already turned to the appropriate US agencies such as the Department of Justice and the Office of the Attorney General for certain information so we can work together on this. However, there is simply no response. This is just used to blow up more anti-Russian hysteria. Nobody wants to look into the matter, into what is actually beneath it. At the bottom of it, as usual, is crime, deception and theft.

October 27: Stories that note Veselnitskaya crafted the talking points on Browder and Ziff, which were then picked up by Russia’s prosecutor general Yuri Chaika, are used to suggest that that means Veselnitskaya got the talking points she wrote from Chaika. In conjunction, several iterations of the talking points are released (but not the ones she originally wrote). Also, Balber again weighs in to distance Agalarov.

Donald Trump Jr. has dismissed Mr. Goldstone’s emails as “goosed-up.” Mr. Balber blamed miscommunication among those arranging the meeting. “Mr. Agalarov unequivocally, absolutely, never spoke to Mr. Chaika or his office about these issues,” he said.

October 30: George Papadopoulos plea makes it clear that that Papadopoulos originally lied to the FBI to hide two things: 1) attempts in the weeks and months after March 31, 2016 to set up meetings with Russians, and 2) knowledge that Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails. On the same day, Paul Manafort is indicted, raising the possibility he’ll flip on Trump. Also on same day, government informs SDNY that Prevezon has not paid its fine from May settlement, and asks for the case to be reopened.

October 31: Quinn Emanuel, representing Prevezon, asks that Veselnitskaya be given immigration parole for hearing.

November 2: Government objects to Prevezon request for immigration parole for Vesenitskaya, reiterating in the process they had objected to her entry in 2016, but that she got immigration parole in any case, which she used to attend the June 9 meeting.

The Government, however, has previously refused to extend immigration parole to Katsyv and Veselnitskaya during time periods when they were not to be witnesses. In particular, in the spring of 2016, then-counsel for Prevezon asked the Government to consent to parole for Katsyv and Veselnitskaya to prepare for and attend oral arguments in the Second Circuit on Hermitage’s motion to disqualify Prevezon’s counsel. Because there was no testimony to be given at a Second Circuit oral argument, the Government refused to grant parole to Katsyv or Veselnitskaya for that period. See Ex. A (March 9, 2016 letter to John Moscow).1

Subsequently, according to public news reports, Veselnitskaya obtained a visa from the State Department allowing her to enter the United States to attend the oral argument on June 9, 2016, a day on which she also reportedly engaged in a meeting with representatives of the Trump presidential campaign. See Brook Singman, Mystery Solved? Timeline Shows How RussianLawyer Got into U.S. for Trump Jr. Meeting, Fox News (July 14, 2017), available at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/14/mystery-solved-timeline-shows-how-russianlawyer-got-into-us-for-trump-jr-meeting.html. This Office had no involvement in the granting of that visa and has no knowledge of whether Veselnitskaya has attempted to obtain another such visa to enter the country for these proceedings.

[snip]

If a testimonial hearing is ultimately required, and if it features Veselnitskaya or Katsyv as witnesses, the Government can revisit its parole determination at that time.2

2 The Government may not, however, again admit Veselnitskaya into the country to assist in witness preparation if she is not herself a witness. Although the Government did so previously, Veselnitskaya’s reported meeting with presidential campaign officials in June of 2016 (of which this Office was not aware prior to its public reporting) or other factors may alter this assessment. In any event, it is premature to reach this issue where no testimonial hearing is currently scheduled, and none is likely ever to be scheduled.

November 3: Judge Pauley denies Prevezon’s bid for immigration parole for Veselnitskaya.

November 6: Bloomberg story for the first time says Don Jr said he might consider lifting Magnitsky sanctions. It also repeats Veselnitskaya’s promise to answer SJC questions if her answers can be made public.

Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has sent her more than 90 questions concerning the meeting, asking whether she knows Putin, Manafort and Kushner, and requesting information about Russian hacking and interference, she said. “That I definitely don’t have!” the lawyer said. “I made up my mind a long time ago: My testimony must be honest, full and public.”

Taylor Foy, a Grassley spokesman, said, “We are encouraged that she is planning to cooperate and look forward to receiving the information.” He wouldn’t comment on whether the committee would comply with her request to make her answers public.

November 10-11: Trump and Putin will meet in Danang, Vietnam, purportedly to talk about North Korea.

This feels like a limited hangout

All of which is to say that the efforts of the last month feel like a limited hangout — an attempt to avoid potentially more damaging revelations with new admissions about Magnitsky. That’s not to say the Magnitsky discussion didn’t happen. It’s to say the potential admissions — down to Veselnitskaya’s claim that, “I definitely don’t have!” information on Russian hacking and interference — have gotten far more damaging since when, in July, she claimed the election didn’t come up.

At the very least, it seems the players — particularly the Trump sponsor Agalarovs  are concerned about what Rob Goldstone has had to say to whatever investigative body — and are now trying to cement a different more damning one, yet one that still stops short of what they might admit to.

In either case, another thing seems clear: Veselnitskaya attempted to come to the country, using the same method she did when she actually used her presence to pitch Don Jr. After that meeting was denied, Trump went from suggesting he might meet with Putin to confirming that he plans to.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

33 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    The TPM backgrounder says many of the same things about being suspicious of the information.  Natalia was not permitted to return to the USA (perhaps the Kaiser doesn’t want her talking again to Mueller?) so there’s no real coercive method to ensure this time it is a factual account.  Junior, the bus is on its way.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/russia-puts-the-squeeze-on-don-jr

    However, I do not think it is entirely random, and perhaps this is a sign that Putin is tiring of the Kaiser or reminding him he has all of the leverage like the good KGB man he is.  Watch the body language when they meet in Asia this week.

  2. bmaz says:

    Let’s see, who should I believe, Veselnitskaya or Browder?

    I will take me a very long time to ponder that conundrum.

    • greengiant says:

      Browder who hired Magnitsky and for whom Putin has asked for Interpol warrants five times.  And who was denied boarding a flight to the US and had his visa revoked for a number of hours two weeks ago.   http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/putin-bill-browder-us-visa-revoked-interpol-arrest-warrant-magnitsky-critic-list-red-notice-a8015961.html.   Going with Putin’s enemy is my friend here, time unit required a New York minute.

      • bmaz says:

        Every person should go with what they know and understand. My understanding is that there was a settlement agreement entered into in SDNY with all parties, including Browder’s Heritage Capital. And then Browder’s Heritage Capital went out and immediately frustrated the agreement’s entire purpose heinously and unilaterally.

        So, yes, I call complete bullshit on that.

        • greengiant says:

          This is a big for me since Browder is the causus belli including the Magnitsky act. By body count Putin is ahead. Not sure what SDNY deal you refer to. The titanium company AVISMA was relatively small potatoes to 1996-1997 gains of 200 million or to the 1 billion Browder later raised.  Another money laundering oligarch only Western.

          Natalia Veselnitskaya was in on promoting the film that was supported by Seymour Hersh and Dana Rohrabacher in June 2016.

          I understand little and know less,  so maybe someone can spell it all out beyond the wikipedia and google links.

        • greengiant says:

          Thanks, the Prevezon settlement where twitter fodder says Browder would have been toast on cross examination. Browder/Putin have a lot more to answer for than the lien in the Netherlands. The taste in your mouth will not get better if you look at what else has gone down since before Browder’s Magnitsky act.

          • bmaz says:

            I am familiar with most of the story, sometimes in detail, sometimes generally. But, as to the US court case in Southern District of New York, I am not so sure that Prevezon does not have a quite legitimate beef. We shall see as more facts emerge.

  3. orionATL says:

    o. k. she’s working the press; o. k. she (& some they’s) is constructing a limited hangout).

    but why not just keep quiet as a mouse, stay in russia, and take no action whatever?

    if putin is trump’s good friend, and if not a sparrow falls in putinville…, why is any of this happening?

    as is sometimes said on the internet why not STFU.

    on other matters,

    like grassley, prevezon’s unpaid $6 mill settlement, boente’s resignation, and the rarely used foreign registration act:

    https://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/news-releases/complaint-firm-behind-dossier-former-russian-intel-officer-joined-lobbying-effort

    “… Despite the reported evidence of their work on behalf of Russian interests, neither Fusion GPS nor Akhmetshin are registered as foreign agents under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).

     
    FARA was passed to improve transparency of individuals and organizations that lobby the U.S. government or act as publicity agents on behalf of a foreign principal.  Grassley has previously raised concerns about the department’s inconsistent enforcement of FARA. This case is particularly important given that Fusion GPS was apparently simultaneously working on the unsubstantiated dossier alleging collusion between Trump presidential campaign associates and Russia, which the FBI reportedly agreed to continue funding.  Because Fusion GPS had not registered under FARA, it is unclear whether the FBI was aware of the company’s pro-Russia activities and its connection with Ahkmetshin when evaluating the credibility of the dossier the company helped create.  

     In a letter today to the Justice Department, Grassley is asking for an update on Browder’s 2016 FARA complaint, including what steps the department has taken to enforce FARA.

     Full text of Grassley’s letter follows:

     March 31, 2017

     VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION

    The Honorable Dana Boente

    Acting Deputy Attorney General

    U.S. Department of Justice

    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

    Washington, DC 20530

     

    Dear Mr. Boente:

     

    Over the past few years, the Committee has repeatedly contacted the Department of Justice to raise concerns about the Department’s lack of enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”).  I write regarding the Department’s response to the alleged failure of pro-Russia lobbyists to register under FARA.  In July of 2016, Mr. William Browder filed a formal FARA complaint with the Justice Department regarding Fusion GPS, Rinat Akhmetshin, and their associates.[1]  His complaint alleged that lobbyists working for Russian interests in a campaign to oppose the pending Global Magnitsky Act failed to register under FARA and the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.  The Committee needs to understand what actions the Justice Department has taken in response to the information in Mr. Browder’s complaint.  The issue is of particular concern to the Committee given that when Fusion GPS reportedly was acting as an unregistered agent of Russian interests, it appears to have been simultaneously overseeing the creation of the unsubstantiated dossier of allegations of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians…”

    can anyone make sense of this muddle?

    • orionATL says:

      talk about lack of appreciation.

      the grandson (browder) of the long time head of the american communist party (earl browder) can’t get no respect from the head of the russian state (putin). not only no respect, but 9 yrs hard time. ingrates!

    • orionATL says:

      or let me put it this way, i sense a train wreck coming.

      if russia ends up increasingly badly exposed in all this election stuff with maybe double-triple more sanctions,

      there’s going to be a lot more dead russians discovered in the back seat of their lexuses (lexi?) in moscow.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      This.

      I highly recommend if you are in US that you try to watch Mr. Robot this Wednesday on USA channel (if possible).

      I have a very, very strong hunch that you will find (see) a lot of parallels to what is going on.

      Consider:

      Paradise Papers, Million Man March, Guy Fawkes, #OpEvilCorp, E-Corp

      Leak (exfiltration) of Paradise Papers probably the work of the hacker group that calls themselves ‘Anonymous’. Note they have been quiet last two years. Early on, they were bragging, not so smart (you just do not do that). Anonymous probably did Panama Papers hack/exfiltration. Then they realized what they had, they shut up, and kept digging.

      I believe Anonymous is the group that hacked/exfiltrated the info for Paradise Papers using info from the Panama Papers.

      Here is the interesting timing: Paradise Papers just came out, just in time for Million Man March.

      Now, I have no clue who is really running Anonymous. They may be a loose knit collective of hackers, but they could be a TLA, they could be an APT (like APT28 or APT29),
      they could cross all of the above three categories.

      But, If you can, I would watch Mr. Robot this wednesday. Suspect major clues will come out.

      • bmaz says:

        You have to be fucking kidding me. Seriously?

        This is like telling people in the 60’s to watch Boris and Natasha on Rocky and Bullwinkle for guidance for the cold war. Which, like now, would be totally moronic.

  4. orionATL says:

    bmaz, greengiant, and any other interested parties –

    here’s some more on who did what to whom – prevezon, veselnitskya, judge pauley, the doj and u. s. attorneys bahrara, joon kim, boente, att. gen. sessions, the netherlands, bill browder, sen. grassley, akmetshin, fusion gps, and god knows who else:

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-lawyer/judge-denies-request-to-return-to-u-s-by-russian-lawyer-who-met-trump-jr-idUSKBN1D32JM

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-31/prevezon-dodged-a-trial-now-may-be-dodging-settlement-payment

    https://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/news-releases/complaint-firm-behind-dossier-former-russian-intel-officer-joined-lobbying-effort

    • bmaz says:

      Why has Chuck Grassley injected his wrinkled ass into a case at bar in the SDNY?

      The other two pieces display the onslaught of PR horseshit I am pointing out. Browder and Heritage are not always the clean actors they have successfully paid millions to portray themselves as. Neither is Prevezon.

      But if you think Bill Browder, and his fund, are All American heroes in the face of evil Prevezon, you need to study up. These are assholes that fully deserve each other. And, at this moment, I think Prevezon may have a legitimate claim as to bad faith and frustration of purpose. We shall see.

      • orionATL says:

        my general view is you cannot ever become super rich without having the personality characteristics of pathological avariciousness, mendacity, self-servingness, and hunger for power, in addition to being a first rate cheat. that goes for browder, rockfeller, zuckerberg, et al., et al. :))

        but your point was that bill browder stepped in and stopped the doj’s settlement. i don’t think the articles i cited back you up on that, unless you think bill browder controls the gov of the netherlands.

        i’d also point put that, contrary to an implication in your earlier comments, browder was not a party to the u. s. gov settlement with prevezon.apparently he either appealed to the gov of the netherlands or the gov of the netherlands thought the doj settlement was politically juiced.

        eu nations did not take kindly to the russian p. r. blitz which putin began a
        after the magnitsky act. complain to them about the way they run their countries.

        if you can find and display here a reason why the netherlands unfroze and then immediately refroze some of its money that prevezon hoped to use to pay off its promised settlement, that might help clear up things.

        finally, there is always the question of why, when the u. s. gov had just changed hands to a russian loving prez, there was a sudden move to settlement this matter. yes, i know the doj loves to settle rather than litigate. that’s why they never challenged the damned banks in 2007-10.

        • bmaz says:

          Why don’t you go chase the court documents. You will find that the “settlement, that the court approved, called for certain releases of Prevezon foreign funds that were necessary before Prevezon was required to pay. And then note that Bill Browder and Heritage immediately, and in bad faith, placed a hold on those same funds in a different jurisdiction before Prevezon even had an opportunity to pay and comply.

          So, here is the deal, why don’t “you” go out and find why I am wrong? Until then, I will go with what I know.

          • orionATL says:

            common b’maz, you’re being obtuse in a lawyerly fashion.

            your intital comment said something to the effect that browder had interferred with the settlement.

            o. k. that’s certainly possible, but it did not make much sense since browder was not involved.

            most importantly, you didn’t say how browder had “intefered” with the doj’s settlement. not a hint.

            i, not you, went looking and found out the problem involved the govt of the netherlands, not browder. hint: the answer was not in court docs, bmaz. maybe that’s why you didn’t know what the answer was.

            i looked around and found out that it was not browder who stopped the settlement. it was 1)the gov’t of the netherlands freezing prevezon’s money and 2l prevezon insisting it could/would not pay without using this very special packet of money held by the netherlands.

            “… And then… Bill Browder and Heritage immediately, and in bad faith, 
            obviously, prevezon is playing games…” in bad faith? how pray tell?

            well, good. now we will go back to court and see what happens with all the political players i listed at 6:58p above in play. should be fun.

            sometimes it’s just smart to pay the settlement and leave town.

            • orionATL says:

              correction:

              bad quote, garbled. quote should read:

              “… And then note that Bill Browder and Heritage immediately, and in bad faith,…”

            • bmaz says:

              Oh, I’m sorry, you did not think Bill Browder had anything to do with Heritage Capital?

              And you did not think that Heritage Capital was a party to the case in SDNY?

              And you that Heritage Capital was bound by the global settlement reached in the Prevezon SDNY case?

              And you did not think that Heritage Capital acted in bad faith by again placing a lien on Prevezon’s funds contrary to the release agreed to in SDNY within 24 hours or less to where Prevezon could not use said funds to pay the settlement as contemplated?

              You did not think any or all of that might be in play? You just bought off on the Bill Browder is a magnificent and benevolent god horse manure?

              This case is one fuck of a LOT more contemplated than you think or understand. We’ll see how it plays out, but spare me the Browder hagiography. He has a lot he is right about, and a lot where he has been a dick too. This is, again, a very complicated matter. But you bring me the best shot you have.

  5. maybe ryan says:

    Pretty big news on the Papadopoulos front, for those who think he’s an idiot who no one should ever have treated seriously.   Medium is reporting that he had many meetings with the Greek Defense Minister, who himself is closely tied to Putin, that a big point of contention was a proposed Greece-Russia agreement on pipelines that the US forced Greece to scuttle in favor of a trans-Adriatic outlet for Greek gas; all of which is precisely the focus of Papadopoulos’s previous work.  GP may have limited experience, and he was never going to be George Kennan, but it’s also pretty clear to me based on his getting entry into Haaretz; his repeated editorials in Arutz Sheva, with its Russian connection; that he had access to some high level people.

    Apparently, he met with Minister Kammenos the day before he joined the Trump campaign.  Interesting developments for the boy who followed Merrick Garland out of Niles West HS.

  6. pseudonymous in nc says:

    The Papadopoulos plea not only moves the timeline of Russian Stuff back to March, but also perhaps shifts the timeline of the investigation and the stuff that was known by the FBI and subsequently Mueller’s office.

    Was there any clarity about the sourcing for Mueller not knowing about the Vesenitskaya meeting until the NYT ran its story? Any guesstimates as to when exactly the Feds knew that Papadopoulos told porkies in his January interview? It feels more shoes may drop on stuff that happened in April and May 2016.

  7. maybe ryan says:

    Startling to read the Carter Page testimony and realize that a share of Rosneft had gone to a Marc Rich-founded company, Glencore.  Perhaps this is common knowledge but it was news to me, and somewhat troubling.  Can anyone tell me any more about Glencore and whether there is anything real there?  I looked at the current board of directors but I’m not well versed enough to recognize any of them aside from what’s in their bios.

    • Rugger9 says:

      And here’s the daily Clinton Derangement Syndrome entry.  Marc Rich is so ’90s.

      Sheesh.

      bmaz is probably right about why Prevezon having a beef, but since they’re all dirty, I suspect it’s karma coming back against them, whether for this deal or some other one.

      • orionATL says:

        read the 1/22/17 article from the nytimes to learn exactly what the russians are up to with browder – a fake criminal charge that is grotesquely, “comically” the times says, bogus. and now russia has finally got browder on an interpol list, just like assange. anyone who can wave these shinanigans aside with a “fair and balanced” viewpoint deserves what the russians will give them – a shiv in the back.

  8. maybe ryan says:

    Well, Rich isn’t at all 90’s. He’s 2001 when the pardon was issued.  But I’m just asking for information.  For instance, did Rich divest a while ago? If so, then there’s nothing there at all.

    I mean, you have to admit it’s surprising to have read the dossier suggestiong that Trump and/or his campaign staff were going to get a direct investment in Rosneft, and then realize that the company that actually got the shares was one whose political connections are to the Clintons.  Though perhaps those connections are distant, or perhaps they are now completely erased.

    In that context, I’m asking whether anyone knows the more recent history.  I did enough looking to realize that Rich founded the company a long time ago.  And he’s dead.  So it may be meaningless.  But it’s at least as eyebrow arching as some of the other revelations coming out of today’s testimony. I think it’s worth asking for more info.  Sorry if this strikes a sensitive spot for you.

  9. maybe ryan says:

    Overall what I don’t get about Page is that if he’s involved, I can’t understand why he’s not a little cannier and/or why no one has reined him in. I mean, his lawyerless testimony has exposed major new flaws in the stories Trumpists have told. Many of his emails really do read like a 2nd rate academic straining to seem relevant in a campaign where he has no real role.

    On the other hand, the LaGuardia thing – very weird. And the Dvorkovich “private conversation” that he says was really just a 15-second “hope things get friendlier between us …” He seems to communicate a lot to Gordon, as EW points out, and Phares. The cc’s to Phares are interesting to me because so extraneous. He claimed he basically had little to do with Phares, but he keeps cc-ing him on emails to Gordon about his speech, on things that don’t seem to have anything to do with Phares specialty (per CP) in the Mideast.

    The other weird thing about all this is that you really have to believe Page is the Forrest Gump of all presidential campaigns, just sort of trundling through, not making solid contact with any of the balls that a foreign policy adviser would swing at. He talks to Phares about “the Mideast,” but doesn’t touch on Syria, where any Russia expert would find interesting points of shared interest. He suggest that he has substantive conversations with anyone. He doesn’t mention position papers or briefing anyone.

    What the fuck did he do, if not coordinate collusion with Russia? It’s the only thing left on the list of things a foreign policy adviser could have occupied their time with.

    I mean, I’m sure the Trump campaign was as poorly organized as the Trump White House. But did they really have a policy committee meeting repeatedly but never offering briefings, papers, substantive advice on anything?

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