"Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election”, Anatoly Samochornov, Dana Rohrabacher, Donald Trump Jr, FARA, foreign agents, Hersh, Jr., Kazakhstan, Kremlin, Kushner, Magnitsky Act, Manafort, Moscow, Natalia Veselnitskaya, Prevezon, Putin, Rinat Akhmetshin, Russia, Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, Soviet counterintelligence, Soviet military counterintelligence officer, Trump, Trump Tower Meeting, vetting of immigrants
Either Trump “beachheads” at VOA (and presumably at RFERL) haven’t successfully quashed their independence or Trump, Jr. is just the fall-guy to keep the bigger dirt from coming out and who then will be pardonned by Papa Trump, though both could be true, as well.
The emails are clear that the lawyer with which Trump, Jr., Kushner, Manafort met is a “Russian government attorney” (clearly meaning employed to represent them but not necessarily a government official). https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/russian-cyberattacks-are-act-of-war-trump-jr-is-a-traitor/
From VOA News: “Two New Names Emerge in Details of Trump Tower Meeting July 14, 2017 9:18 PM VOA News Two more participants have been reported in a notorious Trump Tower meeting that took place in June 2016 between members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign team and a Russian lawyer, as discussion rages over whether the Trump campaign cooperated with any Russian efforts to influence last year’s U.S. presidential election.
Two Russian Americans — Anatoly Samochornov and Rinat Akhmetshin — were identified by news outlets Friday as having accompanied Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to the meeting, which Donald Trump Jr. originally said was just to talk about a Russian ban on Americans adopting Russian children.
This week Trump Jr. revealed that he attended the meeting because he had been promised some incriminating information about Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Akhmetshin told The Washington Post Friday that he participated in the meeting, after his role was first reported by other news sources. MSNBC reported later Friday that Samochornov, a translator, also was present. He is believed to have worked as a project manager for the U.S. State Department.
Named in complaint
Both Akhmetshin and Samochornov are named in an April 2017 complaint by the Senate Judiciary Committee examining the question of possible collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.
Akhmetshin, who became a U.S. citizen in 2009 and retains his Russian citizenship, has lobbied against U.S. sanctions on Russia for human rights violations, the result of a U.S. law known as the Magnitsky Act.
Akhmetshin told the Post that his attendance at the meeting was a last-minute decision. He said he had been having lunch with Veselnitskaya a few blocks north of Trump Tower when Veselnitskaya invited him to attend the meeting later that day.
Akhmetshin has told media outlets that he once worked in Soviet counterintelligence, but only during his two years in the Russian military in the mid-1980s. He says he was drafted into the military, like most young Soviet citizens, at age 18. “Just because I was born in Russia doesn’t mean I am an agent of [the] Kremlin,” he told Politico recently.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley in March questioned whether Akhmetshin might be downplaying the strength of his Russian ties. In March, Grassley, an Iowa Republican, filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians involved with the fight against the human rights sanctions on Russia.
Grassley’s complaint questions whether the Russians, including Akhmetshin, should have registered as foreign agents “for their efforts to bring down a U.S. law on behalf of the Kremlin.”
Supportive of son
On Thursday, President Trump defended his eldest son’s attendance at the Trump Tower meeting.
“I think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting,” Trump said of his son’s decision to talk with the lawyer after being told by an intermediary that she was a Russian government attorney and would offer him material as part of Moscow’s election support of Trump.
“It’s called opposition research, or even research into your opponent. That’s very standard in politics; politics is not the nicest business in the world, but it’s very standard where they have information and you take the information,” Trump said as he stood alongside French President Emmanuel Macron at a Paris news conference.
Trump, who has endured months of investigations in the U.S. about his aides’ contacts with Russians during his run to the White House, said, “Nothing happened from the meeting, zero happened from the meeting, and, honestly, I think the press made a very big deal over something that really a lot of people will do.
“As far as my son is concerned, my son is a wonderful young man,” Trump said. “He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer, not a government lawyer, but a Russian lawyer. It was a short meeting, it was a meeting that went very, very quickly; very fast.”
Trump was asked whether he agreed with Christopher Wray, his nominee to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that his son should have called FBI investigators when offered the meeting because it was supposedly coming from a foreign adversary, Russia. But Trump deflected the question and simply praised his appointment of Wray.
Seeking Trump Jr.’s testimony
In Washington, Grassley, a key lawmaker investigating Russia’s meddling in the election, sent a letter to the younger Trump asking him to testify about his June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. Trump Jr. has said he is willing to testify voluntarily, but Grassley said he would be subpoenaed if need be.
Grassley said no questions would be off limits as the panel investigates what the U.S. intelligence community has concluded was Moscow’s election interference, personally directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, into the 2016 U.S. election.
Grassley’s committee is one of several congressional panels investigating the Trump campaign’s links with Russia, while Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, is heading a criminal probe into the election interference and whether the president obstructed justice by firing another FBI director, James Comey, while he was heading the Russia probe before Mueller took over.
The leader of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, urged Trump Jr. to honor Grassley’s request that he testify.
“I think any witness who’s been asked to testify in Congress should do that,” Ryan said.” https://www.voanews.com/a/two-new-names-emerge-trump-tower-meeting/3945321.html
“Russian-American lobbyist met with Trump Jr., Russian lawyer: NBC News Posted:Fri, 14 Jul 2017 21:09:58 -0400 (Reuters) – A lobbyist who was once a Soviet counter-intelligence officer participated last year in a meeting with senior aides to U.S. President Donald Trump, including his eldest son, and a Russian lawyer, NBC News reported on Friday, adding to allegations of possible connections between Moscow and the November election. ” http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/Reuters/PoliticsNews/~3/uMe7e13taDM/us-usa-trump-russia-agent-idUSKBN19Z189
From: https://www.rferl.org/a/rinat-akhmetshin-russian-american-lobbyist-who-met-trumps-son/28617101.html “Who Is Rinat Akhmetshin, The Russian-American Lobbyist Who Met With Trump’s Son? July 14, 2017 20:05 GMT, by Mike Eckel WASHINGTON — As recently as last year, Rinat Akhmetshin could be seen regularly pedaling through downtown Washington, D.C., nattily dressed, with a pocket square and heavy-framed thick glasses, riding a retro hipster orange bicycle.
He also showed an affinity for vintage motorcycles, which he parked for two years in the Washington driveway of renowned investigative reporter Seymour Hersh.
Hersh later gave a public endorsement to a controversial film linked to Akhmetshin that sought to undermine a 2012 U.S. law that infuriated the Kremlin.
Now Akhmetshin, a dual Russian-American citizen who has both denied and bragged about being a former Soviet military intelligence officer, is at the center of a growing scandal reaching high into President Donald Trump’s White House.
U.S. media reported that he attended a June 9, 2016, meeting with Trump’s son, Donald Jr., accompanying a Russian lawyer who was also seeking to undermine the 2012 law.
Akhmetshin did not respond to an e-mail, text messages, or a voice mail from RFE/RL on July 14. But he told the Associated Press that the lawyer, Natalya Veselnitskaya, gave Trump associates at the meeting information on what she said were funds being illegally funneled to the Democratic National Committee and suggested the information could help the Trump campaign.
“This could be a good issue to expose how the [Democratic National Committee] is accepting bad money,” Akhmetshin was quoted as recalling Veselnitskaya saying.
Until last year, Akhmetshin’s longtime behind-the-scenes work in and around Washington lobbying circles had escaped wider notice. But his work is substantial, stretching back two decades.
He has been a key figure in past PR campaigns to bolster Kazakh opposition figures, to discredit a Russian member of parliament, to lobby on Azerbaijani politics, and to undermine a Russian-owned mining company that sued another in a Dutch lawsuit.
It’s not cheap work, as Akhmetshin himself stated in an affidavit as part of a 2015 lawsuit: He said he charged $450 an hour for his services.
In 1998, Akhmetshin said he founded the Washington office of an organization called the International Eurasian Institute for Economic and Political Research, to “help expand democracy and the rule of law in Eurasia.”
In the late 1990s, he organized meetings with journalists, elected officials, and policymakers in Washington for opposition lawmakers from Kazakhstan. Later, he worked to undermine a businessman and diplomat who was divorced from the daughter of Kazakhstan’s longtime president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, and then had a falling out with Nazarbaev.
In 2011, Akhmetshin was accused of involvement in a smear campaign aimed at maligning a former Russian lawmaker who sought political asylum in the United States.
The goal, according to court documents, was to persuade U.S. officials to revoke the lawmaker’s asylum status, and force him to return to Russia, where he was involved in a dispute with a billionaire businessman over a Moscow hotel project.
Akhmetshin was not the target of the lawsuit but, according to the complaint, he was enlisted, along with a Washington public relations company and private investigators, to portray the lawmaker as anti-Semitic.
During the suit, Akhmetshin fought to keep his e-mails from being released to the opposing lawyers.
“Some of my clients are national governments or high ranking officials in those governments,” he said in an August 21, 2012, affidavit. “My government clients have highly sensitive discussions in my emails concerning the location or relocation of American military bases in areas within the former Soviet Union.”
The underlying lawsuit, and a related countersuit, were dismissed in March 2014.
A more recent legal fight concerned a $1 billion dispute over a potash mining operation in central Russia. While the main fight took place in European courts, a sideshow unfolded in U.S. courts beginning in 2014 when Akhmetshin was accused of hacking into the opposing parties’ computers.
Court papers filed New York State Supreme Court accused Akhmetshin of being a former Soviet military counterintelligence officer who “developed a special expertise in running negative public relations campaigns.”
In e-mail and in-person interviews with RFE/RL last year, Akhmetshin denied working for Soviet or Russian military intelligence. However, in private conversations and other published reports, he spoke openly about it.
The campaign he was associated with last year focused on the 2012 Magnitsky Act. That law imposed visa bans and other measures against Russian officials involved in the death of Russian whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky and the $230 million tax-fraud scheme he helped uncover.
The campaign was two-pronged. The first involved the ban on adoptions of Russian children by American parents, which President Vladimir Putin imposed in retaliation for the Magnitsky Act.
Akhmetshin set up a benign-sounding organization to lobby Congress ostensibly in an effort to restore Russian adoptions. He enlisted former congressmen, and set up meetings with current members, including Representative Dana Rohrabacher (Republican-California), long known for his rosy rhetoric regarding the Kremlin.
Veselnitskaya said she discussed the adoption issue in her meeting with Donald Trump Jr.
The second involved organizing а screening at Washington’s Newseum of a Russian director’s film that took a semifictionalized look at Magnitsky’s whistle-blowing and his death. The screening happened on June 13, 2016, four days after he joined Veselnitskaya at the meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr.
Veselnitskaya, who also attended the screening, served as a lawyer for a Russian-owned company known as Prevezon that U.S. prosecutors had accused of laundering some of the Magnitsky tax-fraud money. In May 2017, that case was settled on the eve of its trial with Prevezon admitting no wrongdoing and paying $6 million.
Another Washington public relations firm, along with Akhmetshin, was also connected to the effort to undermine the Magnitsky Act: Fusion GPS, which was behind the so-called Steele dossier, a compilation of damaging information about Donald Trump that was put together by a former British spy.
In May, Senator Chuck Grassley (Republican-Iowa) asked the Justice Department to investigate both Fusion and Akhmetshin, suggesting that they were unregistered agents of Russian interests.
Prior to the screening, Hersh, the renowned investigative reporter, told RFE/RL that he had seen the film a few months prior at Akhmetshin’s behest. Hersh said he was intrigued enough by it that he agreed to Akhmetshin’s request to host a postscreening discussion free of charge.
Hersh also told RFE/RL that he knew Akhmetshin through mutual acquaintances and that he had let Akhmetshin park several antique motorcycles in the driveway of his Washington-area home, motorcycles he said Akhmetshin had bought thinking they dated from World War II but in fact they were of German manufacture and had been painted over to look like Soviet motorcycles.
At the conclusion of the June 13 film screening, as the discussion turned loud and rowdy, Hersh said the film “goes a long way toward deconstructing a myth.” “Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.” https://www.rferl.org/a/rinat-akhmetshin-russian-american-lobbyist-who-met-trumps-son/28617101.html
Excerpted From https://www.rferl.org/a/us-russia-former-soviet-agent-lobbyist-at-trump-jr-meeting/28616421.html: “Ex-Soviet Intelligence Officer, Now Lobbyist, Confirms Being At Trump Jr. Meeting July 14, 2017 12:00 GM RFE/RL The Russian lawyer who met with the eldest son of U.S. President Donald Trump and other officials of his presidential campaign in June 2016 was accompanied by a Russian-American lobbyist who is a former Soviet counterintelligence officer, according to multiple U.S. media reports.
The lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, on July 14 confirmed to the Associated Press that he had been at the meeting. He told the news agency he had once served in a Soviet military unit that was part of counterintelligence but that he was never formally trained as a spy. . . . ” Read the rest here: https://www.rferl.org/a/us-russia-former-soviet-agent-lobbyist-at-trump-jr-meeting/28616421.html
RFE/RL’s 2016 Profile of Akhmetshin: https://www.rferl.org/a/rinat-akmetshin-russia-gun-for-hire-washington-lobbying-magnitsky-browder/27863265.html An excerpt says: “In an e-mail response to RFE/RL, Akhmetshin denied that he ever worked for Soviet military intelligence, something he would have had to declare when he applied for U.S. citizenship. I am an American citizen since 2009 who pays taxes, earned his citizenship after living here since 1994, and swore an oath of loyalty to the United States of America,” he wrote…..” Read the rest here: https://www.rferl.org/a/rinat-akmetshin-russia-gun-for-hire-washington-lobbying-magnitsky-browder/27863265.html
He “earned his citizenship” working for foreign interests? WTF? The only people who “earned” US citizenship were those who, like my ancestors, fought in the American Revolution, those who fought in the War of 1812, and probably those who fought for thr Union during the US Civil War. No other wars directly involved the safety and security of the mainland US itself. Everyone else was given citizenship (or inherited it).
EMPHASIS OUR OWN THROUGHOUT.
“All text, audio and video material produced exclusively by the Voice of America is in the public domain. Credit for any use of VOA material should be given to voanews.com, Voice of America, or VOA….” https://www.voanews.com/p/5338.html