Donald Trump and his followers continue to insist that there was not only “NO COLLUSION!” between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Kremlin operatives, but the suspicious ties between Trump’s campaign members and associates seem to continue piling up as time goes by and the public waits for Mueller’s investigation to close and be released to the public.
In yet another report of those ties, a Russian immigrant and oligarch tied to President Vladimir Putin was discovered to have created a vast network of associations inside America where he can funnel money while working to promote Russian interests in the U.S. One of those businesses is directly connected to President Trump, according to the Associated Press.
‘Working closely with an American cousin who heads the New York investment management firm Columbus Nova, Vekselberg backed a $1.6 million lobbying campaign to aid Russian interests in Washington. His cousin Andrew Intrater served as CEO of a Vekselberg company on that project, and the two men have collaborated on numerous other investments involving Vekselberg’s extensive holdings.
‘In early 2017, shortly before Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, Intrater hired Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, as a consultant.’
According to Michael Avenatti, Vekselberg and his cousin routed about $500,000 through the cousin's investment firm to a shell company set up by Cohen.https://t.co/7jGMYcsHDv
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) July 5, 2018
For a man who, as both a president and a candidate, said that he has zero contact with Russians, no business dealings with Russia, and no knowledge of any connection between his campaign and Russian government officials, he sure seems to have a whole lot of ties to Russians connected to Putin.
‘Media attention zeroed in on Vekselberg and Intrater in May when Michael Avenatti, the attorney for porn actress Stormy Daniels, released a memo claiming the cousins routed about $500,000 through Columbus Nova to a shell company set up by Trump attorney Cohen.
‘Avenatti claimed that just before the 2016 presidential election, Cohen used the same shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, to pay the adult film star $130,000 to keep silent about her allegation of a one-night stand with Trump a decade earlier.’
Columbus Nova reps told us that Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg was not involved in the payments of $500,000 to Michael Cohen. They neglected to mention Vekselberg and their CEO met with Cohen in Trump Tower shortly before payments began. https://t.co/LY8OyYxBLn
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) May 26, 2018
Not only was Vekselberg funneling money through Trump’s personal lawyer and “fixer” during the campaign, he met with Cohen just days before Trump was sworn in to discuss his administration’s lifting of U.S. sanctions against Russia, at least one of which has had a direct impact on Vekselberg’s vast fortune.
‘Eleven days before Trump’s inauguration, Vekselberg and Intrater jointly met with Cohen, one of several meetings between Trump intimates and high-level Russians during the 2016 campaign and transition. During the meeting in Cohen’s office in Trump Tower, Vekselberg and Cohen discussed U.S.-Russia affairs, said a person familiar with the meeting who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss the session.
‘According to financial records reviewed by the AP, the meeting occurred the same month that Intrater’s firm began making payments to Cohen’s LLC that totaled $500,000, delivered in eight installments ending in August 2017.’
Michael Cohen was apparently soliciting clients (including Russian oligarch Viktor Veskelberg) when he hand-delivered to the W.H. a sealed proposal outlining a way for Trump to lift sanctions against Russia, according to this NYT report from February 2017. https://t.co/iC57kxU7rZ
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 28, 2018
Since Trump’s election, key members of his administration have attempted to set up secret backchannels to the Kremlin and Putin and Trump now plans to meet privately and without a single American present with the Russian president. If this doesn’t make every American voter extremely nervous, they’re just not paying attention.
Featured image via Getty/Bloomberg