Below, I am reposting all three parts of "Russians for Hillary," which first appeared here on May 30-May 31. Drawing mainly from interview transcripts released in May by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the series demonstrates that there was not one Trump supporter among the "Russians" who made the pilgrimage to Trump Tower to "help" Donald Trump.
Further, the record shows that this building block in the case of "Russian collusion" against President Trump, was actually set up by a motley bunch of Russian-Americans, one Russian, and their British facilitator, all of whom we should now, finally, come to understand as ... "Russians for Hillary."
Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee released a set of transcripts of interviews and exhibits related to its "Inquiry into Circumstances Surrounding Trump Tower Meeting."
I am looking at the interviews from the "Russian" side of the table, the people who sat across from Don Trump Jr. as he waited expectantly to hear an incriminating story about Hillary Clinton that never came: Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, Anatoli Samochornov, Rinat Akhmetshin, the Britisher Robert Goldstone. There is also the written testimony of Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Whether there is anyone who still believes this meeting was anything but a set-up from the get-go, it's notable that these interviews show us there was not one Trump supporter among the Russians there to "help" Trump. You might even call this weird posse, "Russians for Hillary."
Take Irakly "Ike" Kaveladze. He moved to the US in 1991 and became a US citizen in 2001, still retaining his Russian Federation passport. He is so pro-Hillary that until he learned that the meeting with Don Jr. would not feature information incriminating to Hillary, he didn't even want to go.
Kaveladze: Look, I didn't want to be a part of a meeting where some negative information on a Presidential candidate would be discussed. So, honestly, I was considering if I realized during the lunch that the meeting would be about negative information on Ms. Clinton, I ' m not going to go to that meeting .
Q. Why not?
Kaveladze: Because I don't want to be a part of a -- first of all, I voted for Hillary and my family voted for Hillary, and so I didn't want a part of this.
Then there's translator Anatoli Samochornov, who also moved to the US in 1991 and became a citizen in 2002. He retains his Russian Federation passport, too. Huffington Post writes:
A registered Democrat, Samochornov works with clients on all sides of American and international politics.
In his Senate interview, when asked to list the VIPs he has translated for, Somochornov listed only big Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Joe Biden.
But his own views appear to be progressive. On Facebook, he has shared clips from MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s show, labeled former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Bush-era adviser Karl Rove as losers, and posted in favor of expanded health care coverage and more restricted access to guns.
Sounds like another Hillary voter at the Trump Tower table.
Next is Rinat Akhmetshin, who came to the USA in 1994. He became an American citizen in 2009, also retaining his Russian Federation passport.
(Note to President Trump: Enough with the "dual" citizenship program.)
As Chuck Ross reported, Akhmetshin has met Hillary Clinton and knows people who worked on her campaign. More than that, he is very closely connected to the Clinton machine through his longtime business partner, mentor, advisor, Washington lawyer Edward Lieberman, whose late wife Evelyn served as deputy chief of staff to President Clinton and also as a top adviser to Hillary Clinton in 2008. (Evelyn Lieberman died in 2015.) As a lawyer, Edward Lieberman has had extensive business dealings in Russia and Democrat ties of his own, having worked, for example, as counsel for The Albright Group, founded in 2003 by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Here's Akhmetshin's take on the Trumps.
Q. Was it a significant event to you to meet Donald Trump, Jr.?
Akhmetshin: No, I was amused, and I'm not a fan of the whole family, so -- I was kind of curious and amused mostly.
On the day of the meeting, it seems that Akhmetshin and Lieberman rode up together from Washington to New York on the morning Acela. They were going to attend a play that evening, Akhmetshin explained, in which a Russian relative of Akhmetshin's was appearing.
But first, the day.
When asked if he knew of Veselnitskaya's trip to New York before she arrived, Akhmetshin gets noticeably dodgy:
I do not remember specifically whether I was specifically aware of her presence in New York at that day, but now in retrospect, I think I had some general kind of understanding she might be in New York ...
Akhmetshin, however, was just minding his own business, shopping, "holding a shirt, so I had to manage the phone and the shirt," when Veselnitskaya called him up and invited him to lunch. (Lieberman was off attending to some personal business in blissful ignorance.) At lunch, Veselnitskay invited Akhmetshin along to Trump Tower to the meeting with "Trump's son." All very spontaneous.
That evening, Lieberman, Akhmetshin, also Veselnitskaya and Somochornov, go to the "beautiful" play, starring Akhmetshin's relative.
How much more film-noirish can this get?
Q. You mentioned that you had dinner beforehand with Mr . Lieberman. Did the subject of the meeting ever come up?
A. I didn't mention to him.
Which is not answering the question.
At another point in the interview.
Q. I'm sorry. I'm not sure if I understood you . Did you say that Ed Lieberman was a close confidant of Hillary Clinton?
Translation -- My head is exploding, what did you just say????
A. His wife was close confidante of Hillary Clinton .
Q. And do you know if Ed Lieberman had a relationship with Hillary Clinton or just his wife?
A. Oh, he knew her well, I'm sure .
Q. And did you know that before June 9th that he was a confidant of Hillary Clinton, or his wife?
A. Yeah, I knew all the time. I mean, from the first time I met him (1998).
Q. And so knowing that, it never occurred to you to say, "Hey, I just had a meeting where Hillary Clinton's name came up "?
A. Again, I try to be discreet .
Not to be cute, but this still isn't answering whether Akhmetshin and Lieberman discussed the meeting, regardless of how the subject came up.
Q. You also said that you met somebody for drinks beforehand. Who was that?
A. I don't even remember now .
Q. Was it a friend of yours?
A. A friend of mine, yeah .
Q. So you have no idea who it was?
A. I don 't remember. I don 't even remember whether -- honestly, it' s been such a long time ago. It's not uncommon for me to meet people or ...
As for La Veselnitskaya, this seems to be the closest we get to politics in her written statement.
Q: Did anyone discuss "hacked" emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton, John Podesta or the Clinton campaign? If so, please explain.
A: No, no one did. I was not even aware of this then, since I was at that time not very interested in politics and what was happening with the pre-election campaigns in the United States. I didn't care who would win.
The day after Inauguration Day 2017, Veselnitskaya seemed to care very much. Here is the poisonously anti-Trump "Putin's puppet" meme that she posted on her Facebook page, since removed.
Yesterday, drawing mainly on interviews with the Senate Judiciary Committee, I set forth the direct statements and strong indicators that all four of the "Russians" in the infamous meeting at Trump Tower set up to assist in the election of Donald Trump were against the election of Donald Trump.
Thus a key vector of so-called "Russian collusion" was actually activated by a bunch of Russians for Hillary.
I put "Russians" in quotation marks above because three of the four have American and Russian citizenship both. One is even the longtime business partner of an American lawyer, Edward Lieberman, whose close associations with Bill and Hillary Clinton go back at least as far as when his late wife Evelyn was deputy chief of staff for President Bill Clinton.
In his Senate interview, Rob Goldstone, the Brit who coordinated the meeting via email with Don Jr., by the way, also revealed something of interest in his along these same political lines.
The bizarre series of relationships that led to this 20-minute meeting at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016 center on Goldstone's capacity as the rep of a Russian pop star, Emin Agalerov, whose "Russian oligarch" father Agar Agalerov had partnered with the Trump organization to stage the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Approaching Don Jr., Goldstone dangled information from the Russian "Crown prosecutor" via Agar Agalerov via Emin Agalerov that was described as incriminating to Hillary.
Didn't they get rid of the "Crown" about 100 years ago? Anyway, in his interview with the Senate, Goldstone makes it clear that his client was no Trump partisan, either -- despite this (unfulfilled) proffer of political assistance.
Having written to Don Jr. -- "This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump - helped along by Aras and Emin" -- Goldstone drew a line of questioning from Senate staff. In response, Goldstone tried to walk the "government" part back, saying he should have instead said "Russian support," not "Russia and its government support." "It's sort of a bad clause," he concludes, lamely.
Personally, I would like to have seen a follow-up question regarding whether anyone helped Goldstone write the email and suggested such language, but the interviewer was interested in what Goldstone meant by suggesting Agalerov help.
Q. And other than arranging the June 9th meeting, what form of help did this take?
A. Emin had posted on his social media: My friend Mr. Trump, vote Mr. Trump, he's done well. He has won in wherever he won.
I may also add that we're very nonpartisan. A few months before that, we had an idea that Emin had a song called, "Woman," and we put it to images of Hillary, and I had thought it would be a great thing to suggest to the Clinton campaign, because it was a great song that summed it up. And Emin posted that on his social media as well.
A few months before ... the line of attack was set? Before the "Russian collusion" trap was sprung?
What we know is that four "Russians" and their British faciliator walked into the inner sanctum of the Trump organization under false pretenses. None of them were on the MAGA team, American body or Russian soul.
On the contrary, there were strong sentiments and even connections among them to Hillary Clinton.
But there's more. Three of the four (Veselnitskaya, Akhmetshin, Somochornov), have been involved in a larger, complex enterprise in Putin's interest, according to the conventional wisdom: to lobby against Russian sanctions (the Magitsky Act). I emphasize Putin's interest to highlight the apparent contradiction. "Helping" (colluding with) Trump, according to the party line that was set by our completely discredited "Intelligence Community," is supposed to help Putin. But these Russian characters all seem to be Hillary lefties, Dems, and even a "progressive."
Also, three of the four (that we know of) have links to Kremlin intelligence. Akhmetshin, identified by the House Intelligence Committee as a "former Soviet intelligence officer," will zig-zag around the question of the nature of his intelligence ties, seemingly depending on whom he is with. The New York Times notes this version of the story: "He told some journalists that he worked with a military counterintelligence unit, but said he never joined Russian intelligence services — unlike his father, sister and godfather" (Emphasis added.) Clearly, it's all in the KGB family.
Kavelkadze's links to the KGB show up to a partnership noted by US authorities circa 2000.
From the Guardian:
Kaveladze, a 52-year-old executive at a Moscow-based property firm with ties to Trump, was found in 2000 to have created hundreds of shell companies for a $1.4bn scheme that US investigators suspected was used to launder Russian money through American banks.
According to US officials, Kaveladze’s partner in that operation was Boris Goldstein, a Soviet-born banker whose ties to former KGB officers attracted interest from US investigators after he moved to California in the early 1990s.
This may be a silly question, but why do Sovet-born bankers with ties to the KGB get to move to California at any time?
“We have obtained information that indicates that this individual [Goldstein] has had a close relationship with companies associated with members of the former Soviet Union’s intelligence agency,” the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said of Goldstein in a little-noticed footnote to a report in 2000.
And then there is Veselnitskaya. After months of denying any and all connections to the Russian government, Veselnitskaya last month told NBC News, “I am a lawyer, and I am an informant. Since 2013, I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general.”
What do you know, this news broke on April 27, 2018 -- the very day that the final report by the House Intelligence Committee on Russia and the 2016 election became public.
What a coincidence!
The evidence leading to the big Veselnitskaya "shocker" -- that the Russian lawyer was an informant for the Russian government all along -- was a set of her emails, which suddenly and anonymously appeared in the electronic dropbox of Dossier, an organization set up by Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, "the former tycoon" the New York Times tells us (not oligarch?), "who was stripped of his oil holdings, imprisoned and then exiled from his native Russia."
Note that the release date of the Veselnitskaya story, April 27, 2018, is the same as that of the final report by the House Intelligence Committee on Russia. What do you say Agent Veselnitskaya story was a little "insurance" against the report being a blockbuster? Nice distraction, if necessary.
On April 28, 2018, Bill Browder pops up on NPR to comment.
SIMON: Let's start with the story of this lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. She told NBC, I am a lawyer. I am an informant for the Russian government - after claiming that she wasn't anybody's agent. You know her, right?
BROWDER: I know her really well. She was trying to repeal the Magnitsky Act, which I was very instrumental in passing. And she did a lot of terrible things in Washington and New York to try to do that. And she had always presented herself as some kind of private citizen. When she calls herself now an informant, I would say that doesn't go nearly as far as what she really is. She is an agent of the Russian government. And the emails that came out yesterday pretty much prove that. And so what we know now is that an agent of the Russian government, proven by emails, showed up in Trump Tower, trying to get Donald Trump Jr. to convince his father to repeal an anti-Russian Magnitsky sanctions act.
Maybe the host is supposed to say, AHA! But this is not an "AHA" moment.
Three of the four Russians at the Trump Tower meeting (at least) should be regarded as actual or potential Kremlin agents, which tells us we are looking at some kind of act by some kind of hostile penetration. Domestic (Clinton)? Foreign (Russian)? Both? Or were they just FBI "informants," too?
Given Akhmetshin's pipeline into Clintonworld via Edward Lieberman, plus what we now know of these Russians being also, politically speaking, on the Hillary team, and professionally not exactly strangers to the ways of Kremlin intelligence, we've got some dots that don't connect, not the way we're told. Remember, too, that Veselnitskaya had earlier been granted special immigration paraole by Obama AG Loretta Lynch.
Of course, there could be a perfectly rational explanation for all of this...
Back to the storyline we are supposed to stick to:
SIMON: Now, Republicans on the House intelligence committee released that report this week, heavily redacted, saying that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia. You believe they missed something?
BROWDER: Well, I actually don't believe either the Republicans or the Democrats when they produce these reports because these are not objective reports. Everybody is arguing their partisan interests.
How non-partisan and above it all -- why, no wonder Browder renounced his American citizenship -- so declasse, so bourgeois!
The "self"-made billionaire continued:
The one report I will believe will be the report of Robert Mueller. He's a totally impartial law enforcement investigator who will come to the truth, whether it was collusion or it wasn't collusion. But when a partisan group puts together a report, it doesn't really hold much credibility for me.
Rather than cue up a good, old-fashioned primal scream, I will note this short list of Mueller's "totally impartial law enforcement," and this epic peroration on same by Rep. Louie Gohmert
Heed Browder's voice of agit prop. It is telling us what we need to know.