Sunday, July 09, 2017

Oops! Trump's Guys "Forget" Another Meeting with the Russians

It's a crime to hide meetings with hostile foreign nationals when applying for a security clearance. But Jared Kushner has done it over and over again. This time it was with a Russian lawyer who defends Russia's policy of holding babies hostage:
Two weeks after Donald J. Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination last year, his eldest son arranged a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan with a Russian lawyer who has connections to the Kremlin, according to confidential government records described to The New York Times.

The previously unreported meeting was also attended by Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, as well as the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to interviews and the documents, which were outlined by people familiar with them.

While President Trump has been dogged by revelations of undisclosed meetings between his associates and Russians, this episode at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, is the first confirmed private meeting between a Russian national and members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle during the campaign. It is also the first time that his son Donald Trump Jr. is known to have been involved in such a meeting.
The Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, has waged Russia's attack on the Magnitsky Act, passed by Congress after Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky died (probably murdered) in a Russian prison. Magnitsky had exposed a huge corruption scandal in the Putin administration.

In retaliation for the passage of the Magnitsky Act (which sanctioned Putin's oligarch pals), Russia banned adoptions of Russian orphans by Americans. Yes, Putin is trying to blackmail Americans who desperately want to save Russian children from a grim and hopeless future by taking them into their homes at great expense to themselves.

Kushner's story is that the meeting was about adoption, though it was really about getting Trump to repeal the Magnitsky Act so Russian oligarchs could go back to snapping up New York real estate.

And then there's this:
One of Ms. Veselnitskaya’s clients is Denis Katsyv, the Russian owner of a Cyprus-based investment company called Prevezon Holdings. He is the son of Petr Katsyv, the vice president of the state-owned Russian Railways and a former deputy governor of the Moscow region. In a civil forfeiture case prosecuted by Mr. Bharara’s office, the Justice Department alleged that Prevezon had helped launder money tied to a $230 million corruption scheme exposed by Mr. Magnitsky by parking it in New York real estate [emphasis added] and bank accounts. As a result, the government froze $14 million of its assets. Prevezon recently settled the case for $6 million without admitting wrongdoing.
This story hits the trifecta: Russians, Trump and real estate money laundering. Robert Mueller, take note.

Trump's conspiracy theory cronies fabricated a story about child sex slaves in the non-existent basement of pizza joint out of an obscure reference in an email from John Podesta. They were so convinced something terrible was happening that one nutjob shot up Comet Ping Pong Pizza to "rescue" the nonexistent children.

Here we have Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner meeting secretly with the lawyer of man who laundered hundreds of millions of corrupt Russian dollars through New York real estate. Yet Trump supporters obliviously insist that there was absolutely nothing going on in the dozens of meetings Trump campaign operatives and associates had with Putin, Russian bankers, Russian lawyers, Russian diplomats, and Russian spies.

Why so many meetings with Russians? And why are these secret meetings constantly being uncovered, one after another, six months after Trump took office? The "I forgot" excuse is wearing thin.

The next time Kushner remembers one of these "forgotten" meetings he should be fired, lose his security clearance, and charged for lying to the FBI.

No, scratch that: Kushner's security clearance should be revoked and he should be fired today. His credibility is damaged beyond repair. There are so many questions swirling around Kushner that he is completely exposed to Russian blackmail: he's lied so many times about the Russians that there's almost certainly another bombshell out there waiting to explode.

Worse, even if there aren't any other secret meetings forthcoming, there may be "tapes" of Kushner's contacts with the Russians, they could blackmail the Trump administration by threatening to release recordings of Kushner saying any number of incriminating things.

No wonder Trump is always so complimentary to Vladimir Putin...

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