The full story of the Trump team’s ties to Russia is continuing to be written. According to a new ABC report, banker Robert Foresman is among those who’ve come under scrutiny thanks to efforts to connect with the eventual president Donald Trump while also maintaining personal ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Foresman lived in Moscow for “years” and been explicitly cited by an employer as connected to the Russian leader’s closest advisers.
Former producer for The Apprentice Mark Burnett helped connect Foresman with the Trump team, arranging for a meeting with then-Trump transition team chair Tom Barrack, who’s himself already been questioned in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. That meeting never happened, and what had been on the agenda that day isn’t fully immediately clear but embedded in the focus of some of the investigators who’ve looked into the banker. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Dianne Feinstein wrote him early last year that she had “reason to believe that you sought to engage the Trump campaign in discussions concerning outreach from senior Kremlin officials,” coupling that with a request for documentation of his connections both to the Trump team and the Russian government.
As it turns out, Foresman made it farther than his failed meeting with Barrack as part of those efforts. In January, he successfully met with Trump’s infamous first national security adviser Michael Flynn, who’s since pleaded guilty to lying to investigators as part of a plea deal. Flynn secretly coordinated Trump team policy with Russia in those early days, trying to convince then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak that the newly forming administration would be soft on the Kremlin compared to the Obama administration’s tough sanctions.
Foresman’s own attention grabbing connections to Russian officials extended into the period in which he met with the Trump team. In December in New York, he met with the sanctioned and Kremlin-owned Vnesheconombank’s head Sergei Gorkov.
Earlier, he’s been documented as close with East German Secret Police member turned banker Matthias Warnig, whose institution covered Putin’s own wife’s medical expenses as a symbol of how close the two men really are. Foresman has also met Putin associate Igor Sechin, who’s been both a deputy prime minister in Russia and the chairman of Kremlin-owned oil company Rosneft.
Could Foresman be one of the men tying all the various Trump/Russia strings together? Only time will tell. Prosecutors in New York have been said to be newly interested in him while looking into the Trump transition and inauguration. That inauguration has come under scrutiny over possible illegal foreign donations meant to grow favor for the donors within the newly minted presidential administration. That inaugural fund has already been recognized as handling unusually large sums of money — some of which went right into the president’s own business since the inauguration utilized his properties.
Meanwhile, Special Counsel Mueller’s team has been rumored to be preparing their own final report on their inquiry into the main area of concern over the Trump team. The president’s inner circle has acted like they’ll try and block at least parts of the report at times — but House Democrats do have the power of the subpoena now.
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