Russians involved in Trump's conspiracy case with Russia: who they are and what their role is
Rinat Akhmetshin, Anatoly Samochornov, Felix Sater, Irakli Kaveladze - few have heard of them. But by the will of fate, they were involved in the whirlpool of the largest scandal of the XNUMXst century in the United States, known as Obamageit. In addition to the fact that all of them are immigrants from the USSR, now living in the States, they are also united by the fact that all of them (who voluntarily and who were on the agenda) testified in the "Russian case" in the Intelligence Committee of the US House of Representatives.
Their hearings were confidential, but not secret. However, all minutes of the meetings were classified. But on May 7, 2020, the 53 minutes of the meetings of the Intelligence Committee were declassified, and we all got the opportunity to finally get acquainted with the primary sources of the infamous “Russian case”.
Before that, we only knew the final result of this case (according to published Report to Special Attorney Mueller) - US President Donald Trump has never been a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But now we have the opportunity to get acquainted with how this business began, and how it was deliberately inflated by the participants in the failed anti-Trump plot.
Of 53 declassified testimonies I chose only four in which the Russians participated.
Depending on which side of the political spectrum you are on, these four documents read either as a horror movie script (for supporters of Hillary Clinton) or as a comedy script (for Donald Trump supporters).
The horror is that none of the four (as, incidentally, none of the 53 declassified transcripts) have presented evidence that Trump received guidance from the Kremlin. The comedy, however, is that the hearings of the Intelligence Committee shed much more light on the worldview of the congressmen themselves than on the circumstances of the case.
In general, a business meeting on June 9, 2016 in the Trump Tower in New York between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya was nothing more than a theater of absurdity. Trump’s elected headquarters was informed that someone had material on Hillary Clinton, and they decided to devote some time to this business - it never happens. Maybe these strangers really have something worthwhile, something that can be used in the presidential race.
I remind you that at the same time, Hillary was doing the same for Trump. At the same time, she not only paid, but also used, as irrefutable facts, the "Russian dossier" concocted under the supervision of Russian special services on Trump.
In contrast, the Trump headquarters staff immediately realized that what they were trying to sell to them was a very clumsy attempt to infiltrate the Russian special services into the Trump headquarters. The first to understand this was Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner - he left 5 minutes after the start of the meeting. Five minutes later, Paul Manafort understood this, and another 10 minutes later, Trump's son closed the meeting. The meeting lasted about 20 minutes, but given that everything said was translated from English into Russian and vice versa, the net time allotted by the Trump headquarters to this matter was about 10 minutes.
These ten minutes were turned by the Democrats into a million minutes of anti-Trump hysteria.
The meeting took place in a conference room, which is separated from the lobby by a transparent glass wall and a glass door. You must admit that this is not at all a suitable place for the exchange of secret spy information - in plain sight.
Rinat Akhmetshin is perhaps the most colorful of this "Soviet Four." Born in Kazan, engaged in science, defended his dissertation in biochemistry in America. He had the hardest time at the hearings, because the facts of his biography were completely incomprehensible to the congressmen. For example, the fact that his service in the Soviet army was not voluntary could somehow be understood. But the unit in which he served belonged to the Commandant Service, and has no direct analogues in the US Army (many commandant functions in the American Army are performed by civilians - drivers, secretaries, couriers, traffic controllers).
There was, of course, a Special Department in this military unit, but the congressmen did not fully understand what it was. The 18-year-old Rinat delivered letters to the Special Department several times and, on this basis, became known in the American media as “Russian intelligence officer”. Well, how do you explain to them that the first-year soldier in the USSR army was in the position of a slave, and in the second year - a powerless serf?
Rinat Akhmetshin came to a meeting with Trump Jr. by chance - he was in New York on personal matters (he came from Washington to visit the theater) when Natalya Veselnitskaya invited him to accompany her to the Trump Tower. He went to a meeting in what he was wearing - in old jeans and a T-shirt. Imagine - the “GRU agent” is at a crucial meeting for the entire planet with the three most senior employees of Trump’s headquarters in the fashionable Trump Tower in jeans, two of these three are multibillionaires.
At the same time, Akhmetshin knew Veselnitskaya for a long time - they worked together against Bill Browder, the grandson of the former Secretary General of the US Communist Party. The Russian company of Bill Browder was a client of the company in which Sergei Magnitsky worked as an auditor.
But the fact that Rinat Akhmetshin is cooperating with the FBI, and not with Russian intelligence, was absolutely deadly for Trump’s opponents. By the nature of his lobbying activity in Washington, Akhmetshin meets with a huge number of foreign citizens, and many of them are quite high-ranking officials in their countries.
FBI agents, in the person of Akhmetshin, found a bona fide provider of information about these foreigners, including numerous attempts to recruit Rinat Akhmetshin by foreign intelligence working under diplomatic cover. Of course, Akhmetshin passed an unofficial FBI check and continues to pass this check every year - which is why, despite numerous sensational and scandalous newspaper publications, no criminal case has ever been instituted against Akhmetshin.
In other words, if Trump Jr. and the Kremlin had established cooperation to win the presidential race, the FBI would probably have known about it even before this information reached Trump Sr.
By the way, the Mueller Report eloquently holds back on Akhmetshin’s cooperation with the FBI.
When Akhmetshin was asked what he thinks of Putin’s response to Magnitsky’s Law (prohibition of giving Russian orphans for adoption in the USA), he replied: “It was a cowardly act. I personally find it disgusting ”(Transcript of Akhmetshin's hearings, p. 74). And when asked about the “Russian dossier” ordered by Hillary Clinton on Trump, he replied: “This is rubbish” (ibid., p. 101).
Anatoly Samochornov was born in Gorky, began his studies there, and graduated from it at the University of Washington. He has two diplomas - a businessman and a translator. He worked little in business, but as a high-class translator, he established himself for a long time. Many times under the contract he acted as a simultaneous interpreter for the US government.
He met Natalya Veselnitskaya by chance - he had to replace another translator at one time. Samochornov describes in detail the mechanics of how he found himself at a meeting with Trump Jr. It turns out that he, like Akhmetshin, received an invitation from Veselnitskaya in the morning, just a few hours before the meeting.
According to Samochornov, when he learned about the meeting from Veselnitskaya, he was quite surprised and puzzled, “because it does not correspond to her caliber” (Transcript of Samochornov's hearings, p. 26). However, no one told him what was the topic of this meeting. He was hired by a translator - sit, translate and do not ask too many questions. He didn’t ask.
But he answered, and answered in great detail - we know that at the hearings in the Intelligence Committee he simply retold word for word what he had already reported to the FBI agents (Protocol of interrogation of Samochornov by FBI agents, p. 50-57). Samochornov dared to tell the investigators what many did not want to hear - there was no collusion between Trump Jr. and Putin at the meeting in the Trump Tower.
Interrogation of Samochornov by FBI agents took place in July 2017, and a hearing in Congress in November 2017. Even then, the investigation of special prosecutor Mueller could be closed for lack of corpus delicti. But, as we know, it was artificially delayed until March 2019, which allowed the Democrats to get a majority in the House of Representatives in the November 2018 elections.
Irakli Kaveladze, a former Muscovite, came to a meeting with Trump Jr. also by accident - he was invited as a translator, but Natalya Veselnitskaya brought along her translator - Anatoly Samochornov. Therefore, Irakli, the vice president of Crocus, remained out of work and did not take part in the conversation at all. He did not know anyone at this meeting, except for Robert Goldstone, a friend of the owner of Crocus Aras Agalarov.
In other words, the organization of this meeting was standard-careless. At the same time, Kaveladze immediately felt that something was wrong here, when Veselnitskaya, instead of building or show business, suddenly started talking about the adoption of orphans.
None of Trump's associates were familiar with this topic, and in the midst of the election race, they frankly did not want to hear anything about Magnitsky or about the adoption of Russian children. When Trump's son finally asked how Browder’s criminal (according to Veselnitskaya) money turned out to be with Hillary Clinton, Akhmetshin’s answer was: “Why don’t you investigate it yourself?” In response, Trump Jr. laughed, and this marked the end of the meeting and the complete failure of those who wanted to infiltrate Trump's headquarters in such a clumsy manner.
According to Kaveladze, already after the 2016 elections, there was another attempt by the Russians to establish contact with Trump's team, but once again they were politely refused.
The report that Irakli Kaveladze gave to his boss Agalarov at the end of the meeting was extremely simple: “A waste of time” (Transcript of Kaveladze's hearings, p. 66). And Robert Goldstone at the end of the meeting went up to Trump's son and apologized for organizing this useless meeting in the midst of the election campaign.
The last character in the Soviet quartet is Felix Sater, who emigrated with his parents from Moscow at the age of 6 years. Later, for 7 years, he successfully worked on Wall Street, but then his life went downhill - Felix was involved in financial fraud.
When he found himself at the bottom, he was offered a helping hand by the FBI. Felix began to collaborate with the Federal Bureau, and then with the CIA, extracting, sometimes life-threatening, valuable intelligence. For example, it was he who managed to get bin Laden's phone number (in Transcript of Sater's Hearings his intelligence track record is a few pages).
But it was the secret life of Felix Sater. In ordinary life, he was engaged in the sale of real estate. That is the same as Donald Trump. At the same time, his company was located on the 24th floor of the Trump Tower in New York, and Trump's company was located on 26. The cooperation of the two companies began around 2000. It was Sater who began in 2005-2006 to study the idea of building the Trump Hotel in Moscow. But then the idea was not developed.
She was revived after 10 years.
Sater describes in detail the internal mechanics of how multi-billion dollar international deals are prepared, and in what sophisticated ways the Trump team tried to reach Putin’s inner circle in order to get permission to build the Trump Hotel in Moscow. Hope, as you know, dies last - Trump, until the election victory in November 2016, hoped to build the fashionable Trump Hotel in Moscow.
Unfortunately, Felix Sater was mistaken when he hoped that Putin was interested in improving relations between Russia and the United States. Sater also suggested that Putin was “smart enough” to understand the full benefits of building the Trump Hotel in Moscow (Transcript of Sater's Hearings, p. 40). But Putin, as you know, was not smart enough, and went to the open confrontation and defamation of Trump.
The transcript of Sater’s hearing shows that in 2015-2016, Trump’s entourage made a series of desperate attempts to reach Putin to obtain a building permit. In addition, they cultivated at least three different sources of project financing (traditionally, local banks always acted as these sources). They tried to reach Putin through some friends of the Rotenberg brothers, and through some friends of the press secretary of Putin Peskov, and through some businessmen.
But not a single channel worked.
Knowing Sater’s long-standing history of cooperation with the FBI and the CIA, it can be assumed that Trump and Putin’s political conspiracy, if it had taken place, would have become known to American law enforcement agencies on the same day.
At the same time, the Mueller Report keeps a suspicious silence that Felix Sater was recruited by the FBI.
What will happen next
The few remaining supporters of the Trump - Putin Puppet theory to date will have to work hard to explain these numerous unsuccessful attempts by Trump employees to get in touch with Putin, because in their opinion, Trump had already begun to receive directives directly from Putin long before the election.
But Putin not only did not give permission for the construction - he planted Trump with a pig, and three times in a row, which probably predetermined Trump’s tough attitude towards Putin for many years to come. Let me remind you: Putin refused Trump to build the Trump Hotel in Moscow twice - in 2013 and 2016. The third blow to Trump was the introduction of a false, anonymous dossier on Trump through the Russian special services to the elected headquarters of Hillary Clinton, but, as you know, not Trump, but pensioner Skripal, was ultimately affected by this. At the same time, Trump has a very clear idea of exactly who makes the final decision in Russia on any transactions worth one billion dollars or more.
All four published transcripts of the hearings demonstrate the heart-rending, erratic efforts of proponents of a conspiracy theory between Trump and Putin in the House of Representatives to find at least some evidence to support this theory. But nothing even vaguely reminiscent of Trump and Putin’s connection was found, so the transcripts of all 53 hearings in the Intelligence Committee were kept secret, which made it possible for Trump’s opponents to fearlessly continue to exaggerate the idea of a conspiracy between the Kremlin and Trump for three years. It is completely understandable why the Democrats in every possible way delayed the publication of these protocols.
All four former Soviet citizens answered the questions of the congressmen openly, did not conceal anything, although it was clear to all those present that their answers were only the tip of the iceberg. The fact is that none of these four in the Congress revealed the information that they shared with the FBI agents and investigators of the special prosecutor Mueller. But their lawyers, who were present at the hearing in the House of Representatives, hinted plainly that some answers to some questions should be sought in the minutes of the investigation, and not at the hearings in Congress.
However, many questions were so ill-conceived that you begin to think about the intellectual level of congressmen and their assistants. For example, often the questions were structured in such a way that it was clear which answer was expected. But none of the participants in the Soviet quartet described here fell for this bait.
All four episodes set forth are yet another confirmation that the Kremlin rulers have nothing to hope in the United States. I mean nothing at all. At least two of the four former Soviet citizens who were inadvertently involved in the “Russian case” were FBI informants, and a high-ranking translator must have passed an unspoken FBI check, otherwise he would not have been allowed to conduct simultaneous interpreting by State Department and the US President.
Four former Soviet citizens behaved quite American in the course of the “Russian affair” - each was engaged only in his own business and pursued only his own interests. All of them have dual citizenship. None of them were involved in organizing a conspiracy between Trump and Putin, but all four sincerely wished to improve relations between Russia and the United States - this, much to the chagrin of supporters of the theory of the "Russian conspiracy," is not a crime.
As you know, the initial stage of Obamageit - Trump’s “Russian affair” - is already closed, but the final part - Trump’s revenge - is just beginning. Perhaps we are on the eve of the fact that the political pendulum began to move in the opposite direction, and the next decades will not go exactly as the democrats intended.
Most often in the materials of the “Russian case” there is the name of Natalia Veselnitskaya. We know a lot about the lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya, and at the same time, we know little about her suspiciously. We know that she is a mother of four children, doesn’t need money, doesn’t know English, always pays for restaurants in all, smokes, stops only in first-class hotels, flies freely for business around the world, received a visa to the USA with the help of some high-ranking officials of the administration of President Barack Obama, does not have a license to engage in advocacy in the States, but is engaged, or rather engaged. That, in fact, is all.
On the surface, it seems that she is protecting the interests of one of the Russian clients affected by the sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act. But she obviously does it as if she has a curator from the organs. Only from the authorities of which country?
Original column published on the blog. Gary gindler chronicles.
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