U.S. President Donald Trump has time and time again played right into the Russian government’s policy aims. He’s done so in part through his utter refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of Kremlin meddling in U.S. elections — and he’s also, it seems, played right into the Russian elites’ hands via revoking former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.
This week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders revealed the president’s revocation of Brennan’s clearance, which was actually made official some weeks ago. Trump had originally first announced — via Sanders — that he was considering revoking Brennan’s clearances, and some other former officials’ clearances, on July 23. According to a copy of the president’s statement on Brennan shared by the White House, he made his revocation official on July 26.
In between those two dates, a Russian billionaire who has his own private connections to Trump tweeted a show of support.
The tweet is in Russian, but Google translate — which may be a bit off but captures the essence of the message — provides the following translation:
‘Ex-CIA Directors John Brennan and Michael Hayden, ex-FBI Director James Comey and his deputy Andrew McCabe, ex-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, [and] ex-National Security Adviser Susan Rice — say goodbye to access to classified materials.’
In English, he added:
‘Welcome to the real world!’
Klyushin has been in Trump’s circles for years, and it’s clear based on his Twitter feed that he continues to this day to follow the U.S. president and U.S. political news at large closely. For instance, he just recently tweeted about the jailed alleged Russian spy in the United States Maria Butina, who’s alleged to have sought to cultivate a Russian backdoor into U.S. politics via the National Rifle Association.
Back in 2013, his wife Yulia Alferova helped organize Trump’s Miss Universe pageant, which that year was held in Moscow. An English language Twitter feed identified as belonging to her describes Alferova as an “Advisor to the Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.”
She posted an image with Trump in 2014 that could indicate some foreknowledge of his then-impending presidential run, although Trump had, to be sure, publicly discussed possibly running for president in the past.
She captioned an image of the two of them:
‘I’m sure [Donald Trump] will be a great president! We’ll support you from Russia! America needs ambitious leader!’
More recently, her husband Klyushin may have attended a 2015 Trump speech in Iowa, posting images of the event that he may very well have taken himself.
There is a precedent for his attendance; he posted in 2013 an image of “discussing [a] new project” with Trump and others, including Russian pop singer Emin Agalarov, whose efforts to help Trump’s candidacy have been drawn into the Robert Mueller investigation. In other words, he wouldn’t have come out of nowhere had he been in Iowa — he would have simply been a past associate who Trump invited along to an early campaign stop.
Late last year, he posted a message to social media reading (again via Google translate):
‘Without my intervention, Trump would not have won.’
The message may have been a joke — or something — but the connection remains. Klyushin is working to maintain it through following the president so closely, and Trump is helping that along through his pro-Russia policy moves.
Featured Image Via YouTube Screenshot