The Misrepresentations of the Simpson-Veselnitskaya Meetings

Whew. I’ve finally finished doing an initial pass on the transcript of Glenn Simpson’s interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee. I did three threads on Twitter on it:

I guess I’ll have a series of posts on what’s in the dossier, hopefully with a ton more nuance than coming from those who claim it totally justifies the dossier project. It doesn’t.

But before I get into questions that Simpson’s testimony should raise about the dossier, I want to focus on a narrow issue arising out of one the prior leaks of Simpson’s testimony. Back in November, Fox News reported that Simpson had met with Natalia Veselnitskaya at a court hearing before and “after” the Trump Tower meeting; the report appeared based on the

But hours before the Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016, Fusion co-founder and ex-Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson was with Veselnitskaya in a Manhattan federal courtroom, a confidential source told Fox News. Court records reviewed by Fox News, email correspondence and published reports corroborate the pair’s presence together. The source told Fox News they also were together after the Trump Tower meeting.

Simpson’s presence with Veselnitskaya during this critical week in June — together with revelations about Fusion’s simultaneous financial ties to the DNC, Clinton campaign and Russian interests — raise new questions about the company’s role in the 2016 election.

Veselnitskaya rejected the report in her answers to SJC.

Last week Fox News 38 referring to a confidential source reported that I met with Glenn Simpson before and after the meeting with Trump’s son, and that “but hours before the Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016, Fusion co-founder and ex-Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson was with Veselnitskaya in a Manhattan federal courtroom, in a hearing on the DOJ’s claim against Prevezon Holdings, a Cyprus company owned by a Russian businessman Denis Katsyv.” This statement does not reflect the reality.

Given the questions I raised about whether Veselnitskaya left the June 9 meeting with Ike Kaveladze — with whom she had arrived — I found the question of what Veselnitskaya had done before and after of interest.

Here’s what the transcript actually shows about those meetings.

Q. Were any [meetings with Veselnitskaya] in June 2016?

A. Yes. Two.

Q. Were those in New York or in D.C.?

A. I believe that one was in New York and one was in D.C.

Q. Do you recall the specific date of either?

A. I didn’t until we tried to piece these things together, but June 8th I think was the dinner in New York and I think the 10th was the dinner in D.C., something like that.

Q. And what were the purposes of these dinners?

A. Well, the first one was just an obligatory client dinner which, you know, when you work on a legal case you get invited to dinner with the clients. The one in D.C. was more of a social thing. It wasn’t — she was at it, but it wasn’t really about the case. It was just a bunch of Mark Cymrot’s friends. You know, the editor of the Washington Post book section was there and his wife who’s a well-known author were also there.

Q. You mentioned you had dinner with Ms. Veselnitskaya on June 8th and 10th of 2016. Were you generally aware of her trip to the United States in June?


Simpson: I can tell you what I knew. I knew she was coming in I guess on the 8th. I don’t have a clear recollection of the dinner, but I know — I believe we had a dinner. The problem is I had more than one. So I don’t have a clear recollection of it. Anyway, I saw her the next day in court at this hearing and I’m sure we exchanged greetings, but, as I say, she speaks Russian and I speak English. I think she was with Anatoli and she left afterwards. I know she didn’t tell me any other plans she had.

Q. So you had dinner the 8th, saw her in court on the 9th; is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And dinner again on the 10th?

A. In D.C.


Q. It has widely been reported Ms. Veselnitskaya and Mr. Akhmetshin and others met with Donald Trump, Junior, Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner on June 9th, 2016. Were you aware of this meeting beforehand?

A. No.

Q. It didn’t come up at the dinner the night before?

A. No.

Q. When did you first become aware of the meeting?

A. Around the time it broke in the New York Times. I was stunned.

Q. Is it correct that that means it wasn’t discussed at the dinner on the 10th?

A. No, but, again, you know, the dinner on the 10th was I was at one end of the table talking to a woman about her biography on Simon Bolivar and she was at the other end with Rinat and she doesn’t really speak much English.

Basically, while it supports that Simpson saw Veselnitskaya at the court hearing (meaning Veselnitskaya is wrong on that point), it doesn’t support that she came from or returned to a meeting with Simpson directly before and after the Trump Tower meeting. Instead, it seems to support the case that Veselnitskaya and Simpson saw each other three days in succession because the Prevezon hearing was the stated purpose of her visit to the US. And Simpson’s claim that linguistic barriers prevented them from chatting that much seems credible.

Which raises questions about why the claim that Veselnitskaya had met with Simpson got leaked to Fox.

Most likely, it was leaked as part of GOP efforts to suggest that Fusion is suspect and the dossier as a whole might be Russian disinformation. But given my new questions about when and with whom Veselnitskaya left the meeting, I wonder whether the discussion of a meeting afterwards wasn’t meant to distract from details about Kaveladze’s departure.

In any case, these three reports all conflict. My guess is Simpson’s is most accurate (because this is probably what the Fox report is based off, because he’s fluent in English, and because his report has so much more detail, not at all because I find his testimony above question).

49 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If Simpson’s version is closer to the truth, then, surprisingly, Fox dramatically overstates events. It characterizes Simpson and Veselnitskaya as being “together” at the June 9th court hearing and then after the Trump Tower meeting. They met in court, but not for common purposes. They were ‘together” again a day later, but in a different city in public view of a different set of people; they were not together in NYC an hour later, exchanging views about how well the TT meeting went.

    As usual with Fox, its statement appears to create deceptive meaning and intent out of accurate facts. I know, it’s an art, which is why I’m happy you can so elegantly deconstruct it.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Not to pick just on Faux News, CNN should apologize for its grovelling performance yesterday – Gloria Borger in particular – over the meaning of Trump’s surprise camera-ready “bipartisan” meeting supposedly on immigration.

      Instead of characterizing the meeting as a surprise, a gotcha for the Democrats – which Trump then lost the thread of and caved to DiFi – it characterized the meeting as a demonstrable improvement in Trump’s behavior.  (“Never in my life…” chimed Gloria, with Dana Bash nodding knowingly from the choir.)  Meanwhile, Trump’s handlers and his GOP were already backtracking on Trump’s change of heart and seeming willingness to compromise with the Democrats over a “clean DACA”.

      That dog was never gonna hunt.  The meeting was never bipartisan or meaningful.  It was political theater, in this case, to show that Trump’s brain is still connected to his body.  If Gloria Borger meant what she said, CNN needs to rethink why it’s employing a journalistic bear of such very little brain.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If Gloria Borger is, in fact, a journalistic bear of great brain and did not mean the sappy things she said about the vast improvement in Trump’s behavior, then she is more cynical than even her cynical compatriots, while selling a line that happens to benefit her employer’s parent company’s merger plans.

    • Peterr says:

      Fox is clearly putting Veselnitskaya out there as a bright shiny object.

      In Marcy’s earlier post on Ivanka running into her at the elevator of Trump Tower, Marcy (correctly, IMHO) noted that the importance of the story isn’t what Veselnitskaya was doing, but the fact that two other Russians were left behind at Trump Tower with Don Jr and Manafort. I’m wondering if “bright shiny object” is not just how Fox is portraying her, but also the role the Russians cast her for, to draw the public attention while others do the quiet work behind the scenes.


      • emptywheel says:

        Yes. That is my entire theory. Veselnitskaya is a shiny object used by Scott Balber to hide Kaveladze.

  2. Rugger9 says:

    If Kaveladze doubles as an enforcer, or the bearer of the “true” message (with Natalia as a cover story conveniently out of the room), what was said between the ones left in the room after NV left the meeting on June 9?

    That might be really really important.

    • emptywheel says:

      Goldstone thought the release of the Guccifer emails was eerie when it started. So I’d suggest that emails probably were discussed.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        You are referring to Guccifer2, correct?

        Reason I ask is that you have normally used 2, and the original Guccifer probably not around for this timeframe.

    • Domye West says:

      I viewed the new Manafort lawsuit as leverage over Manafort. I have always thought that Russia didn’t really care about being caught, since fucking with our democracy seemed the #1 goal, but I wonder if this is leverage to keep Manafort quiet.

      “Don’t cooperate with Mueller and maybe this will go away”, or “Don’t forget HOW MUCH dirt we have on your illegal shenanigans”

      I don’t know, just my 2cents

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Not sure about that. Deripaska’s lawyers have certainly been playing close heed to the Manafort/Gates docket to see what the SCO came up with, what Manafort/Gates claim as assets ,and how big a piece the government wants of them, initially for bail, then potentially through confiscation. I don’t think either of them are going to walk away with a pot to piss in, if they walk away. Nice to have Mueller & co. doing some legal work for you essentially pro bono.

        The timeline is interesting, though, because it (very purposefully) shows that Deripaska was putting the legal squeeze on Manafort and Gates as late as February 2016.

        It is, at least, a glimpse of how these fuckers (on both sides) work. Money that gets to see lots of nice sunny parts of the world.

  3. Domye West says:

    Quick question: Are you saying that maybe the reason for the Simpson-V post-Trump meeting leaked was “to distract from details about Kaveladze’s departure”?

    Muddy the water about what V did after the trump tower meeting so nobody raises questions about Ike maybe staying behind?

  4. Avattoir says:

    Having read thru the transcript once, then your tweets, I’ve moved closer to something like your skepticism on the Dossier.
    Among my comments:
    1. In general, there sure was an awful lot more coloring outside the lines of the various legal relationships engaged during
    this Fusion GPS odyssey than I’d have anticipated.
    2. There was (is?), at the very least, less mutual understanding, and probably interest as well, between Simpson & Steele, than Simpson, at least, assumed (& may still).
    3. Simpson effectively acknowledged not knowing how differently Fusion GPS acted in its various assignments, from how Steele conducted his parts of it.
    4. It’s certainly possible to get how there might be motives in Grassley & Graham writing the FBI, OTHER than – or parallel to – politically-motivated pressure to prosecute.
    5. Is Grassley upset or “upset” with Feinstein for releasing the transcript? It sure seems to serve Grassley’s interests. And Cornyn’s saying he’s “pleased”.
    6. With such a long track record of having taken positions, cast votes, given speeches, & done other things aimed ultimately at prioritizing the interests of the intel community over sunshine & civil rights, why are media big & small so eager to assume she’s now suddenly done an about face?
    7. I’m of course substantially underwhelmed with sympathy for the several Rus-, Trump- & Rus/Trump-connected figures who claim to have seen their sterling reps & exalted standing in society damaged by publication of the Dossier (leave aside whatever Steele discussed with the FBI), but everyone SHOULD now be able to see how Buzzfeed’s decision tp publish was awfully hinky.
    8. I’ve had experience (not a specialty) with f.a.’s, including UK. But I actually don’t think even my little bit is necessary to remind that there’s been a longer, more complicated history of Brit & Rus spy services getting up into each other’s businesses & beds, including the former having Soviet agents effectively running
    entire swaths of their ops (on the UK payroll no less – with honors!). AOT, it’s all very well for Simpson & various anon intelm sources chatting up media outlets to talk up Steele’s rep, but to me he’s every bit the stranger as Kim Philby was.

    (FWIW – I’m there are others here more qualified in this – I’ve observed exchanges between agents of distinct countries with differing interests in the same subject matter. Almost without exception, they were marked by more strained courtesy than you’ll see outside a Senate colloquy, vast clouds of good fellowship, & talk too small for my ears to catch.)

  5. sapaterson says:

    There are small discrepancies about minor characters and timelines of inconsequential events in the attestation records. Glen Simpson admitted that in his ten and a half hour marathon testimony. He self – corrected misspelling the last name of the Ukrainian mobster who invests with Donald Trump through Felix Sater: called him Semyon Mogilevich instead of Yudkovich. I’m sure there may be other blemishes. Not enough to warrant ignoring the report.

    The Republican’s investigative counsel  line of questioning in the Senate Judiciary committee hearing was designed to highlight inconsistencies in the Fusion GPS report and the public record. Patrick Davis, Samantha Brennan and others cannot dispute the findings of the research company so they must look for flaws. (My favorite – ‘How do you spell Alpha Bank?’)

    The Republicans must obfuscate. At this point they must attack the message and the messenger. Otherwise they look like they’re recipients of the Russian mob money. The testimony is about where the research lead Fusion GPS. Did you know that Donald Trump launders money for the Solntsevo Brotherhood, the Russian mafia? Yep, does it through Felix Sater. Another fun fact for you Christian Evangelicals, Donald Trump launders money for Tevfik Arif who has been arrested for running child prostitution rings. Yep, it’s in the Panama Papers. Oh, and my favorite. Trump gets his financing through Alpha Bank which handles Russian Mob money.

    But even though the Democrats will clean up in next year’s elections by running on the ‘I’m not Trump’ platform while continuing to stand up for the rights of corporations and billionaires, they will not really care about you. They care only about the money they must gather and hand over to Rupert and Sumner. They won’t care so much where the money comes from. Russians, Saudis, Autocrats, Silicon Billionaires, Wall Street Moguls. It goes into a magic hat called a PAC and it comes out as dark money. Ta da! Sheldon Adelson has just made your democratic process disappear.

    Please stop whining about Russian Mob money affecting politics, Democrats when it’s really the “news media” that profits off of privately financed elections. The mafia is just there to fill a need that society has. By doing nothing about the nature of election finance,  just like by doing nothing when your children become addicted; it  allows for criminal elements to predominate. Change the system. Otherwise Putin’s next campaign along with the greed of the media moguls will produce a candidate far worse, like Ted Cruz

  6. Avattoir says:

    Sapaterson, if your idea was come here to address a speech to “Democrats”, you were misinformed.

  7. pseudonymous in nc says:

    “I was stunned” feels like a polite translation of “ohhhhh shit.”

    Anyway, Simpson’s account divides things into three, maybe four sections: from mumble mumble [May / June; EW noted the vagueness and how that matters w/r/t to the hack timeline and the Tower meeting] to the delivery of the first memo in late June, which triggered Steele’s outreach to the FBI; from July to September, when more memos were coming in, while the initial hack disclosures were going on in parallel and the CIA started doing its own briefings to Congress; then from September till late October, when you get the Rome meeting between Steele and the FBI, then the “buyers’ remorse” memo and some of the iffier stuff about Cohen, along with the attempt to brief the press and Sen McCain, all of which ends with the Lichtblau/Myers story.

    (I’m also wondering about “American political figure” in 105, the August 22 memo. And I also wonder about some of those trusted compatriots.)

    • Charles says:

      pseudonymous in nc says, “May / June; EW noted the vagueness and how that matters w/r/t to the hack timeline and the Tower meeting”


      I was much less impressed by the importance of what Simpson failed to remember than was Emptywheel. I was much more interested in why the committee failed to ask Simpson to pin these dates down.


      There are many reasons that witnesses can be vague, especially about dates… testifying is difficult; one wants to be careful not to provide hostile interlocutors with errors that they can use to undermine the rest of what one says; there can be issues of source protection; one may not want to assist anyone who is thinking of suing the firm; and so on.


      But the committee has the power to ask witnesses to specify at leisure every detail of what they say they do not recall during questioning. In the portion of the transcript I read, I saw no interest in getting a clean timeline. Instead, the only matter of urgency to Grassley was to file a criminal referral against Christopher Steele. That’s one of the more perfidious acts I have seen in an age filled with perfidy.


      Grassley plainly was not interested in the allegations of strong connections between organized crime and Trump to which Simpson testified, connections which are extensively corroborated by many others.  Grassley wasn’t even interested in the other bits of evidence that Simpson had that raised Simpson’s level of concern. Grassley was interested in nothing but silencing a witness who might have shed light on the case.


      I find that interesting, far more so than flyspecking Simpson’s testimony.


      • emptywheel says:

        Well before this testimony I pointed out inconsistencies in Steele’s sworn declarations, which got discussed in the testimony, specifically with respect to whether he gave reporters actual copies of his reports or not. That is a material issue.

        • Charles says:

          I’m not sure I follow.  Material to which legal matter?  Steele’s sworn declarations are not, as far as I know, publicly available. They are in the hands of the FBI. If he lied to them, they can certainly charge him. They don’t need Chuck Grassley to tell them what to do.


          Steele’s declarations might also be material to civil lawsuits against Steele and against Buzzfeed, but that’s not the Senate’s lookout.


          Finally, they might be material as to how the investigation of Trump began. But from my viewpoint, the better question is why Trump wasn’t under investigation long before this.


          Yes, Steele might have played both sides of the fence to get the FBI to start an investigation. It’s even possible the Democrats were paying Fusion for this purpose. One might even be able to put together a criminal case out of such things. The Republicans are certainly trying to do so.


          But why was the FBI so far asleep that Hillary’s e-mails were a cause rated a dramatic public statement–yet the Bureau had little interest in an incandescently problematic figure like Trump?

          The FBI’s history is one of spending far more time figuring out how to repress the American left-wing than it does on actual threats.  It has a long history of being run by far-right figures, such as the Opus Dei director, Louie Freeh. Even back when Russians were Soviets, the Bureau wasn’t very successful at curbing Russian espionage and influence operations.


          To return to the question–material to which legal matter? To possible lies to get the FBI to do its job? Or the question of whether a foreign rival has leverage over the president, thereby influencing matters of war and peace?

          • bmaz says:

            A  “criminal case”? For what, pray tell? It is easy to bandy that shit around, but please specify what statute you hypothesize would have been violated. You see, actual “criminal cases” do actually have to be based on actual criminal statutes. Name them.

            • Charles says:

              Bmaz, please do me the favor of reading my post a little more carefully. I said:

              Steele might have played both sides of the fence to get the FBI to start an investigation. It’s even possible the Democrats were paying Fusion for this purpose. One might even be able to put together a criminal case out of such things. The Republicans are certainly trying to do so.

              Does this seriously suggest to you that I think a criminal case could be built out of the criminal referral by Grassley?

              And yet, even though it’s clear I don’t see that happening, it’s also clear the Republicans are trying to do so. They appear to be trying to get him charged under 18 U.S. Code § 1001. At least, that’s my guess. Full disclosure: IANAL.


              Now here’s what I think: pursuing your well-justified desire to keep your site free of trolls, you are in certain cases annoying legitimate commenters.

              Please: relax. Enjoy.

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          Specifically, the hanging question in terms of initial timing was whether Steele was actively engaged before or after the Prevazon hearing (and thus the Tower meeting) — pp. 186-188 gets as close to an answer, and Simpson says “I don’t specifically remember” and talks about how agreements are handled by other staff. I can well imagine there being preliminary outreach about the assignment before the paperwork is signed, and presumably Prevazon took up a big chunk of Simpson’s time in that period, but it feels like he’d know which came first.

          • Charles says:

            Thanks. Yes, it wouldn’t be surprising if they spent a little time checking Steele out, though that might have been as simple as a phone call to his friend at the FBI. The hiring process might have been just a few days.


            Still, if Steele’s hiring is being handled by staff, the logical thing to do is ask the relevant staff member, as Levy promised to do after the session. Did Grassley follow up or not? I just don’t see any attempt by Grassley to do anything except monkeywrench the Russia investigation.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        “…committee failed to ask Simpson to pin these dates down.”

        Maybe they had no reason to do so, because they already have the intel?

        Sometimes, it is the questions NOT asked that actually can be informative.

        • Charles says:

          In that case, they had no need for Simpson’s testimony. They could have made this perfidious referral at any time. In fact, they could have simply confronted FBI Director Christopher Wray in his December appearance with any Steele inconsistencies, and demanded that he prosecute. The FBI has all the paperwork already.

          This isn’t a matter of “questions not asked.” It’s a question of conspicuously sloppy procedure in the Simpson interview.

  8. Charles says:

    I also want to call into question a previous post by Marcy titled Senator Feinstein confirms the public Steele dossier is not the whole thing.


    On page 139-140 of his testimony, Simpson states that what was published by Buzzfeed was everything Steele provided “as part of this engagement.” This seems pretty definitive to me that the public Steele dossier is the whole thing. It’s possible that Feinstein was asking a question/rhetorical question when she says to Benckowski, “Feinstein: The whole dossier is not online.” 


    Or perhaps she is referring to the dossier Simpson compiled, which we now think includes other research submissions. Or perhaps she just screwed up. I suppose it’s also possible Steele had a second engagement with Fusion GPS related to Russia but, if so, I think we would have to call that work product something other than the Steele dossier.


    I’ll be happy to be corrected, but this is how it seems to me.

    • emptywheel says:

      What has been released is the entirety of Steele’s work, if we believe Simpson.

      But yes, there is a larger set of research on Trump (two, actually). And there was some back and forth between what Simpson did and what Steele did. So I assume she was talking about the entirety of what Simpson did for the Dems.

      I do need to go back and clarify for good that Akhemtshin was only ever a client and not a researcher for Simpson.

      • greengiant says:

        All manner of non named source web droppings that Akhemtshin was an employee. Newsweek only goes with “reportedly working with Fusion GPS” The danger with even sourced information ending up in successful libel suits goes back at least as far as Stig Larrson’s fiction. Witness O’keefe’s attack on the Washington Post. Not only does it seem the dossier was part/whatever disinformation, it seems it was actively armed to result in libel suits as Cohen and Trump have done. In retrospect the dossier was very well played by Podesta , Clinton and MSM. With teflon Donald, teflon Felix and teflon oligarchs the advice is “just walk away”,  the same as jacked elections. Taking a special counsel to even get close.

      • greengiant says:

        The employee Akhmetshin “fairy?” tale seems to go back to Jack Posobiec   and tweets an hour after  24 tweets on July 14 spamming individual media and media employees. Just twitter search @BasedBrooklynNY akhmetshin.  You decide #MAGAbot or #Putinbot.

        July 14 was when Akhmetshin said he was at the Trump Tower meeting.  Earliest found todate was July 11 tweet copying buzzfeed executive editor @NoahShachtman

  9. Trip says:

    I agree with both Marcy and then others here who disagree. Grassley went into the questioning as an defense attorney. His purpose was to dig up dirt on, or to discredit Steele, and he might have succeeded. From Democrats involved in the Kushner questioning, it sounded like he was met with a lot of soft-balling from the Republicans. I suppose we won’t know since those transcripts and the line of questioning will never be released. Based on what was already televised, I would tend to believe the Dem take on the matter, as far as going easy on the Trump Inc side. Grassley’s fear that releasing the Fusion GPS transcript might hamper Kushner’s willingness to return, when he has subpoena power and Simpson was cool with the release, was disingenuous, as well.

    Since Comey was fired, I guess that killed the investigations of Giuliani, the FBI leaks on Fox News, and what Simpson described as Steele’s opinion that the FBI was politicized within, and Comey’s subsequent poison pen letter.

  10. Trip says:


    Not a Democrat here, but the obfuscation tends to take on the opposite appearance. And thank god for the mob filling the needs of the rich who were born on third base already from inheritance, or those who acquired it through ill-gotten gains, thefts from the plebs? Come on, now. They ain’t no Robin Hoods.

  11. Robin Matt says:

    Is there any significance to Simpson testifying at one point he couldn’t read a word of Russian, and later testifying his Russian was “limited”?

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Follow-up questions to Trump’s new ambassador to the Netherlands, arch-conservative from Michigan, Pete Hoekstra, after he again refused to admit to reporters that he lied about the Netherlands being a place where politicians are literally set on fire:

    “‘Why don’t you answer the question?’ Another told the former congressman, ‘This is the Netherlands; you have to answer questions.’”

    Those words should be emblazoned on the foreheads of every journalist in America. Lest they forget.

  13. PeaceRme says:

    Would it be that hard to prove that faux news has become the Putin Propaganda channel??? Couldn’t someone go through the stories and see a pattern of deflection and out right miscommunication that Benefits Putin et al??? I suspect many republicans have come to admire Putin, but it seems this country is in deep need of some meta analysis. (More Marcy’s….lots more!!) so frustrating! Such stories would force a discussion about what appears to be an obvious pattern. So more research needed.

  14. Trip says:

    That Netherlands presser was a thing of beauty, wasn’t it? No bothsides-ism-benefit-of-the-doubt- suspension-of-disbelief US coverage. They (all) asked the same question over and over. They pinned him to his own words, no escape.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The lovely thing was that there was nothing special about it, it was just routine.  It was typically Dutch: articulate, direct, no being fobbed off.  Hoekstra is supposed to be America’s chief spokesperson for gawd’s sake, and he puts his foot in it the first time he speaks.  No surprise he was appointed by Trump.

      It also points out how insipid American interviewers and MSM commentators often are.  And how rare it is for them to back up their colleagues when a politician fobs them off.

      The free pass the MSM gave Trump the campaign – treating him like a “reality” TV star, not a candidate for the presidency – is one reason he’s president.  And they’re doing it again, normalizing his gross inadequacies.  That won’t right the ship of state; it just makes everyone lean over the gunwale in hopes of seeing an upright mast.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I know this is beating a dead horse, but the consequences of this behavior are profound.  An example of how unusual the MSM found Hoekstra’s treatment at the hands of Dutch journalists (instead of, say, CNN’s Gloria Borger) is this typical headline at HuffPost (emphasis mine):

        “Trump’s New Ambassador Grilled by Dutch Journalists Over Anti-Muslim Comments”

        The underlying story was more effective than the headline on two counts.  Hoekstra was not grilled.  Reporters asked him direct questions.  When he refused to answer them, they asked him more questions, including why he refused to answer earlier ones.  That’s called journalism.

        Hoekstra’s comments were not just anti-Muslim.  They were anti-Dutch.  Hoekstra implied that the Dutch didn’t know how to run their country, to keep their people safe and their politicians from being burned, in effect, by savages.  The further implication is that America under Trump does and Dutchman Hoekstra is returning home to show them how.  Wrong on all counts.

        As EW would be the first to say, journalism counts; the headlines chosen by editors count, too.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          Hoekstra was just peddling the fascist scam, that there are bogeymen out there and the us is here to protect (while the fascists steal your money and take your rights away).

  15. orionATL says:

    by his telling, at at least some of simpson’smeetings with v., the slavic woman is bookended by two of three the slavic men attending the june 9 trump towermeeting

    – rinat akmetshin (russian emigre, lobbyist working and living in america, ex-russian military) and

    – ike kavelzade (lives-in-america v-p for the russian real estate development firm, crocus group, which is owned and run by billonaire aras agarlov. “… Kaveladze is a senior vice president at Crocus Group, the real estate development company run by Azerbaijani-Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov, according to Kaveladze’s LinkedIn. His personal website says he “holds responsibility for multiple elements of the company’s Russian development project.”… ” [ ] agarov was involved with trump in the 2004 miss universe contest in moscow.

    in deposition material, natasha veselnitskya has described crocus group head aras agarov as a “very good friend”. veselnetskya is both a lawyer for russian firm prevezon, at the time being sued by u. s. doj, and a lobbyist for reversing the magnitsky act by which the u. s. sanctioned (one of three) the russian economy.

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