Implausible deniability

Plausible deniability is the ability of people (typically senior officials in a formal or informal chain of command) to deny knowledge of or responsibility for any damnable actions committed by others in an organizational hierarchy because of a lack of evidence that can confirm their participation, even if they were personally involved in or at least willfully ignorant of the actions. In the case that illegal or otherwise disreputable and unpopular activities become public, high-ranking officials may deny any awareness of such acts to insulate themselves and shift blame onto the agents who carried out the acts, as they are confident that their doubters will be unable to prove otherwise. The lack of evidence to the contrary ostensibly makes the denial plausible, that is, credible, although sometimes it merely makes it unactionable. The term typically implies forethought, such as intentionally setting up the conditions to plausibly avoid responsibility for one’s (future) actions or knowledge. In some organizations, legal doctrines such as command responsibility exist to hold major parties responsible for the actions of subordinates involved in heinous acts and nullify any legal protection that their denial of involvement would carry.

Ivanka Trump helped make her father’s first international hotel venture a success with the help of an alleged international fraudster with ties to money launderers and criminals from the former Soviet Union.

A joint report between Reuters and NBC News examined the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama, which includes residential apartments and a casino in one of the tallest buildings in Latin America.

President Donald Trump’s daughter worked with Alexandre Ventura Nogueira, a 43-year-old Brazilian who was arrested three years later by Panamanian authorities on charges of fraud and forgery unrelated to the Trump project.

He later fled the country after his release on $1.4 million bail.

Nogueira and his company, Homes Real Estate Investment & Services, was responsible for up to half of the advance 666 apartment sales, according to Reuters.

The joint Reuters-NBC News report found Nogueira did business with a Colombian who was later convicted of money laundering and is now jailed in the United States, a Russian investor in the Trump tower jailed in Israel in the 1990s for kidnapping and death threats, and a Ukrainian investor arrested for alleged human trafficking while working with Nogueira and later convicted in Ukraine.

https://www.rawstory.com/2017/11/ivanka-filled-trumps-panama-tower-with-the-help-of-fraudster-with-ties-to-russian-money-launderers/

Watch the in-depth report tonight: Richard Engel on Assignment

LIVE TONIGHT, 6:00 PM ON MSNBC

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Trump Jr coordinated with Kremlin-linked “known hostile non-state actor” oops!

Donald Trump Jr. seems to think that the direct messages he exchanged with WikiLeaks aren’t particularly incriminating. On Monday night, Trump Jr. tweeted out what he claims were his “entire chain of messages” with WikiLeaks, and he dismissively wrote that his messages consisted of a “whopping 3 responses.”

According to those direct messages, Trump Jr.’s last message to Wikileaks was sent on October 3, 2016 — four days before the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security released a joint statement publicly accusing WikiLeaks of being a Kremlin front.

“The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the statement said. “These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process… We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

While Trump Jr. could argue he stopped sending messages to WikiLeaks as soon as U.S. intelligence agencies publicly accused it of being a Kremlin front, his willingness to collaborate with WikiLeaks seems to have extended past the statement’s release on October 7.

On October 12, WikiLeaks sent Trump Jr. a message lauding Trump Sr. for “talking about our publications” during campaign rallies, and suggested, “your dad tweets this link if he mentions us.”

Fifteen minutes later, Trump Sr. posted a tweet complaining that there was “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!”

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system! 5:46 AM – Oct 12, 2016 · United States

And two days later, Trump Jr. tweeted out the very link WikiLeaks suggested.

Donald Trump Jr. ✔@DonaldJTrumpJr For those who have the time to read about all the corruption and hypocrisy all the @wikileaks emails are right here: http://wlsearch.tk/ 5:34 AM – Oct 14, 2016

During the last month of the campaign, Trump Sr. mentioned WikiLeaks 164 times, with many of them occurring after the intelligence agencies released their joint statement. Despite the fact that stolen emails published by WikiLeaks were a central part of his closing message, Trump later insisted that WikiLeaks had “absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.”

On Tuesday morning, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski went on CNN and tried to rewrite history in a manner favorable to the Trumps.

Asked how Trump Jr. could have thought it was a good idea to communicate with Kremlin-linked “known hostile non-state actor,” Lewandowski suggested Trump Jr. might not have known “what WikiLeaks was about” in October of last year.

“I don’t know if we knew back in October that WikiLeaks had that same type of notion behind them,” Lewandowski said. “Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that looking back a year ago that we would have known what WikiLeaks was about.”

Lewandowski did not mention the intelligence community statement that was released early that month and received significant media attention.

During another part of the interview, Lewandowski tried to distance the president from his eldest son, saying that “Don Jr. is a private citizen, he can tweet or retweet anything he wants to, and it doesn’t have a material effect on the outcome of the campaign.”

Tuesday night wasn’t the first time Trump Jr. has published incriminating private correspondence under duress. Last July, Trump Jr. tweeted out emails showing that the Trump campaign was eager to collude with individuals connected to the Russian government in an effort to bring down Clinton.

https://thinkprogress.org/the-big-problem-with-donald-trump-jr-s-excuse-for-collaborating-with-wikileaks-f2ee3759c73d/

 

What’s Trump’s other “bestie tyrant” Recep Tayyip Erdogan up to?

Henri Barkey coup leader???

On July 15, 2016, an American college professor named Henri Barkey convened an academic workshop about Iran at a hotel on an island near Istanbul. That night, elements of the Turkish military attempted a coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that quickly failed but triggered a massive campaign of repression which continues to this day. Barkey went through with his conference, spent a couple of days in Istanbul and flew home.

To Barkey’s astonishment, he soon became a target of the world’s newest political weapon: fake news, in the form of a feverish, government-sponsored campaign. Pro-Erdogan media claimed that Barkey was on the island of Buyukada not to discuss Iran’s foreign relations with fellow academics but to direct the coup operation on behalf of the CIA.

To those who know the professor, a stereotypically tweedy 63-year-old intellectual who has combined teaching at Lehigh University with stints at Washington think tanks and the State Department policy planning staff, the claims were literally laughable. But the real-world consequences have not been. The five Turkish scholars who attended the conference have been defamed and stripped of their passports; one was detained for two weeks.

On Friday, the Turkish press reported that a prosecutor had issued a warrant for Barkey’s arrest. The indictment also charges Metin Topuz, a U.S. consular employee whose detention several weeks ago triggered a diplomatic spat in which both countries temporarily suspended the issuance of visas. Topuz did not attend the conference, and Barkey says he has never met him.

Turkey’s best-known philanthropists and liberal activists, Osman Kavala

Last month, one of Turkey’s best-known philanthropists and liberal activists, Osman Kavala, was arrested and jailed. One of the two charges against him is “contact with Henri Jak Barkey and foreigners who were among the organizers of the [July 15, 2016] coup attempt,” according to court papers. Kavala was also not at the conference, but Barkey says they spoke briefly at a restaurant in Istanbul. “Knowing me,” the professor ruefully told me, “is enough to send someone to jail for life.”

Kavala, Topuz and Barkey are just three among some 150,000 people imprisoned, fired or sanctioned by Erdogan’s government in the past 16 months, including 150 journalists and 6,000 university employees. But the case is a good example of how fake news has become a tool for authoritarian governments that have watched closely how Russia — and President Trump — have used it.

The first lesson is that not just facts but basic plausibility are unimportant when concocting charges. Social media can be used to make anything sound convincing to the followers of a Trump or Erdogan. The Turkish ruler’s propagandists claimed, for example, that Barkey enlisted the notorious convicted murderer Scott Peterson as muscle. Peterson is imprisoned in California. But no matter: An American journalist also named Scott Peterson happened to be at the meeting.

Once the fake news is floated, political leaders can demand investigations while claiming they only want to learn the facts. Their main objective is not prosecutions, but advancing a political narrative. In Erdogan’s case, the point is to suggest that the United States is responsible for the coup attempt — a lie that he is attempting to leverage into concessions from Washington. Above all, he wants the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based cleric accused of masterminding the coup. Erdogan may also be trying to fend off charges that his government offered millions of dollars to former national security adviser Michael Flynn in exchange for Gulen.

Hence the warrant for Barkey and arrests of Topuz and Kavala, an internationally admired secular activist. Erdogan has referred to him as “Turkey’s [George] Soros,” in reference to the liberal U.S. financier; he also claimed that Kavala and Topuz are connected, without further explanation.

That’s the trick: to use fake news without accepting responsibility for it. Erdogan’s prime minister, Binali Yildirim, offered me another demonstration of that last week when I asked him, during his visit to Washington, whether the Turkish government really believed that Barkey directed the coup. “Whether Henri Barkey managed the coup or not, I don’t know,” he replied, claiming that he was unaware of the allegation.

He then said that Turks were inclined to believe that the United States must have something to do with the coup because of Washington’s failure to hand over Gulen. “Sometimes perception becomes more important than facts,” he concluded.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

That, of course, is exactly Erdogan’s objective. And if his repression seems far removed from the tactics of Trump, it’s worth recalling that the president and the media that support him are even now promoting the manifestly false story that Hillary Clinton corruptly influenced the sale of a uranium company to Russia and are demanding a criminal investigation. No wonder Trump said as he met the Turkish strongman in September, “We’re as close as we have ever been.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/a-fake-news-campaign-blames-an-innocent-american-for-a-coup-attempt-in-turkey/2017/11/12/e4e54ad8-c559-11e7-aae0-cb18a8c29c65_story.html?utm_term=.a215b3ad8553

New Trump talking point: Russian investigation insults Putin and may cost “millions of lives”

Trump believes Putin on Russia meddling and says Mueller may cost lives

Trump with his “bestie” at APEC

Donald Trump said on Saturday he believes Vladmir Putin’s denials of Russian involvement in the manipulation of the 2016 presidential election.

After a brief meeting with the Russian leader on the margins of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Vietnam, Trump launched a tirade against special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin.

The investigation could cost “millions and millions of lives”, Trump claimed, by hindering agreement with Moscow over conflicts in Syria and Ukraine and a looming confrontation with North Korea.

The president’s remarks, made to reporters as Air Force One flew to Hanoi from Da Nang, represented his open disregard for the views of US intelligence agencies. They have concluded that Russia did interfere in multiple ways in the 2016 election, with the aim of helping Trump’s candidacy.

The president suggested he put more faith in Putin’s word.

“Every time he sees me he says ‘I didn’t do that’ and I really believe that when he tells me that,” Trump said. “He really seems to be insulted by it and he says he didn’t do it. He is very, very strong in the fact that he didn’t do it. You have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he has nothing to do with that.”

The president described the investigation led by Mueller, a former FBI director appointed by Trump’s own justice department, as “Democrat-inspired” and a “hit job”.

Trump also claimed the investigation was preventing a normalisation of relations with Putin and therefore could cost countless lives around the world. He suggested Russia was not helping more to persuade Pyongyang to disarm “because of the lack of the relationship that we have with Russia, because of this artificial thing that’s happening with this Democratic-inspired thing”.

“I think [Putin] is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country. Because again, if we had a relationship with Russia, North Korea which is our single biggest problem right now, it would help a lot,” he said.

“You know you are talking about millions and millions of lives,” Trump said, adding that good relations with Moscow were also vital to resolving other conflicts.

“When we can save many, many, many lives by making a deal with Russia having to do with Syria, and then ultimately getting Syria solved, and getting Ukraine solved, and doing other things, having a good relationship with Russia is a great, great thing. And this artificial Democratic hit job gets in the way. It gets in the way. And that’s a shame. Because people will die because of it, and it’s a pure hit job, and it’s artificially induced and that’s shame.”

After Trump’s comments, Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, posted a tweet saying current CIA leadership agreed with the general intelligence community assessment about Russian interference in the election.

“CIA just told me: the [director] stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment entitled: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” he wrote. “The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed.

Trump met Putin briefly on three occasions at Da Nang, having scheduled no formal meetings with him during the summit. The two exchanged a jovial handshake at the gala dinner on Friday and stood next to one another in a “family photo” of leaders on Saturday.

The US press pool including photographers were blocked from covering the day’s events, including the Trump-Putin meetings. Only Fox News and the official White House photographer were granted access.

Putin dismissed accusations Moscow meddled in the US election as “fantasies” intended to undermine Trump. “Everything about the so-called Russian dossier in the US is a manifestation of continuing domestic political struggle,” he said.

Putin was asked if he had followed the mounting investigation into alleged contacts between Trump’s campaign team and Russians, including a woman who claimed to be Putin’s niece.

“Regarding some sort of connections of my relatives with members of the administration or some officials,” he said, “I only found out about that yesterday from [his spokesman Dmitry] Peskov.”

He also said: “I don’t know anything about [the investigation]. I think these are some sort of fantasies.”

The two leaders produced a joint statement on Syria, restating their determination to defeat Islamic State and their desire for a United Nations-brokered solution.

“It’s going to save tremendous numbers of lives and we did it very quickly, we agreed very quickly,” Trump said.

The statement lists longstanding areas of agreement between the US and Russia on the importance of reviving mostly dormant UN-mediated negotiations known as the Geneva process, which envisages constitutional reform and free elections. In the past, Washington has disagreed with Moscow on how the process should be carried out and what role Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad would play.

Assad’s forces, with Russian and Iranian support, have been gaining ground. The Syrian president has consequently shown little real interest in a peace deal. Asked if Russia would be able to bring Assad to the table, a state department official, quoted on CNN, said: “We’re going to be testing that, we’re going to find out.”

Trump renewed his assault on the Mueller investigation at a time when it is making significant advances, each time a step closer to the president. His former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and a senior fundraiser have been indicted for money laundering and conspiring to defraud the authorities.

Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, is under investigation. His lawyer on Friday denied a report that he had negotiations with Turkish representatives about kidnapping a dissident cleric living in the US.

A former foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to perjury about his contacts with Russian surrogates and officials. Although he personally announced Papadopoulos’s hiring in March 2016, describing him as “an excellent guy”, since the guilty plea was made public the president has said he was a “young, low-level volunteer” who “few people knew”.

However, court papers show Papadopoulos was in frequent contact with senior campaign staff, mostly about plans to bring Trump and Putin together. He met a UK foreign office minister, Tobias Ellwood, at the UN in September 2016. The New York Times reported on Saturday that Papadopoulos helped edit a major foreign policy speech in April of that year, and that one of the officials he was in touch with was Stephen Miller, still one of Trump’s closest advisers.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/11/putin-and-trump-want-political-solution-to-syria-conflict-kremlin-says

Trump, five Russian women and sex videos

Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian singer Emin Agalarov at the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013. Irina Bujor/AP

Trump’s longtime bodyguard testified that Russia offered women to Trump while he was in Moscow

President Donald Trump’s former bodyguard and confidante, Keith Schiller, privately testified under oath that he rejected an offer from a Russian to “send five women” to Trump’s Moscow hotel room in 2013, according to reports from NBC News and CNN.

Schiller said that he rejected the offer, telling the Russian, “We don’t do that type of stuff.”

Schiller reportedly testified that he talked to Trump about the offer as the two walked back to Trump’s hotel room. The two men laughed about it before Trump went to bed. Schiller said he stood outside Trump’s hotel room for a while before leaving, as was his routine as the billionaire businessman’s security guard. Schiller said he does not know what happened for the rest of the night.

According to sources with direct knowledge of Schiller’s four-hour long testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, the former director of Oval Office operations adamantly rejected many of the allegations made in a collection of explosive memos written by Christopher Steele, a veteran British spy, alleging ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Schiller’s lawyer, Stuart Sears, said in a statement that “the versions of Mr. Schiller’s testimony being leaked to the press are blatantly false and misleading” and condemned the House Committee for leaking.

“We are appalled by the leaks that are coming from partisan insiders from the House Intelligence Committee,” Sears said. “It is outrageous that the very Committee that is conducting an investigation into leaks – purportedly in the public interest – is itself leaking information and defaming cooperative witnesses like Mr. Schiller.”

The Steele dossier, made public in January by Buzzfeed News, contains allegations that Trump declined various business deals in Russia but that the Russian government fed Trump intel throughout the 2016 presidential election.

It also includes claims that Russian spies concealed cameras in Trump’s Moscow hotel room that filmed him with prostitutes who urinated on a bed he believed former President Barack Obama had slept in.

Trump has forcefully rejected these allegations.

“Does anyone really believe that story?” he said during a press conference in January. “I’m also very much of a germaphobe, by the way.”

Multiple intel agencies claim to have Trump sex videos — but some fakes are floating around: Ex-NSA analyst

John Schindler, a former National Security Agency analyst who now regularly writes about alleged ties between President Donald Trump and the Russian government, has written an explosive column this week alleging that multiple intelligence agencies around the world claim to have copies of Trump sex tapes.

In his latest column at the Observer, Schindler writes that Trump’s notorious sexual habits over the years have left him wide open to potential blackmail, and that intelligence agencies around the world possess what they believe to be compromising material on him.

“As many as a dozen intelligence services worldwide, on four continents, are in possession of some sort of ‘Trump tape’ featuring sexual escapades of a controversial nature,” he writes. “Some of these tapes have been shared with the Mueller investigation.”

However, Schindler also warns that many of these tapes are either crude or sophisticated forgeries seemingly designed to discredit any news organization or politician who brings them to light. Schindler suspects that these fraudulent tapes are the work of Russian counterintelligence operatives and were created to protect Trump in case real sex videos of the president were to leak.

That said, Schindler is confident that at least one genuine Trump sex tape exists.

“One Western intelligence agency with a solid professional reputation is in possession of an unpleasant Trump tape that they assess ‘with high confidence’ is bona fide, i.e. exactly what it appears to be,” he writes. “They obtained the tape from a trusted source who plausibly had access to it. Over the decades, Trump has traveled widely—including to Russia more than once—and thereby exposed himself to surreptitious filming in numerous countries.”

Schindler was highly skeptical of the Steele dossier’s claim that Russia had genuine video footage of Trump watching a prostitute performing a “golden shower” when the contents of the dossier were first made public.

“The dossier’s “pee-pee tape” claim is viewed with derision by most Western spies who know the Russians,” he wrote earlier this year.

Trump, his family and cronies; the real “Enemies of the people”

The ‘Paradise Papers’ expose Trump’s fake populism

President Trump entered the White House on a platform of populist rage. He channeled ire against the perceived perfidy and corruption of a shadowy world of cosmopolitan elites. He labeled his opponent Hillary Clinton a “globalist” — an establishment apparatchik supposedly motivated more by her ties to wealthy concerns elsewhere than by true patriotic sentiment.

“We will no longer surrender this country, or its people, to the false song of globalism,” Trump declared in a campaign speech in 2016, setting the stage for his “America First” agenda. The message was effective, winning over voters who felt they had lost out in an age defined by globalization, free trade and powerful multinational corporations.

Fast-forward a year, though, and it’s worth asking whether Trump — a scion of metropolitan privilege and a jet-setting tycoon who has long basked in his private world of gilded excess — ever seriously believed any of his own populist screeds. Little he has done since coming to power suggests a meaningful interest in uplifting the working class or addressing widening social inequities. Indeed, much of the legislation that he and his Republican allies are seeking to push through suggests the exact opposite.

Now there’s even more evidence underscoring his administration’s flimsy commitment to the rhetoric that brought it to power. This week, we’ve been confronted by a steady drip of revelations contained in the leaked trove of documents known as the “Paradise Papers.” These are about 13.4 million files obtained in part from a Bermuda-based law firm that helped corporations and wealthy individuals set up offshore companies and accounts. In many cases, the moves allowed the firm’s clients to avoid paying taxes at home. A similarly mammoth leak last year, dubbed the “Panama Papers,” prompted, among other things, the resignations of leaders in Pakistan and Iceland.

Hundreds of journalists from 96 media organizations around the world are sifting through the documents and following up on what leads they provide (The Washington Post is not among the publications to have reviewed these documents). That’s because the list of prominent figures implicated in these dealings is vast, ranging from the Queen of England to Irish pop-legend-turned-philanthropist Bono to a string of Russian oligarchs. They cast light on the offshore schemes of the chief financier behind the election campaign of Canada’s liberal prime minister, a big donor to Britain’s Conservatives and huge U.S. corporations such as Nike and Apple.

And, significantly, they include figures intimately connected to Trump. The most startling revelation involved Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who maintained his stake in a shipping firm called Navigator Holdings after assuming public office — and even as a Russian natural gas firm called Sibur increased its business dealings with Navigator. Sibur happens to be closely connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin: Both his son-in-law and favored judo partner are owners of the company.

“The latest document leaks raise more questions about business ties between Russia and some of the most prominent members of Trump’s Cabinet,” my colleague Carol Morello noted. “The New York Times reported that the documents include references to offshore holdings by Gary Cohn, the chief economic adviser, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. There is, however, no evidence that any of the holdings were illegal.”

“I’m not embarrassed at all,” Cohn told CNBC on Tuesday. Cohn was named in the papers as an officer of 22 business entities in Bermuda, dating back to when he was a senior Goldman Sachs executive. “This is the way that the world works.”

That is certainly true. As my colleague Rick Noack noted, the Paradise Papers may generate a media-led uproar, but the loopholes revealed in them still exist and are, in most cases, legal.

So, why does this all matter? Consider the argument of a more genuine economic populist, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): “The major issue of our time is the rapid movement toward international oligarchy in which a handful of billionaires own and control a significant part of the global economy,” Sanders said in a statement this week. “The Paradise Papers shows how these billionaires and multinational corporations get richer by hiding their wealth and profits and avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”

That’s something the populist, antiglobalist Trump would, in theory, be upset about. But Trump has not said or tweeted a word about the leaks. The Republican tax changes being unfurled under his watch specifically benefit corporations and the superwealthy. New York Times columnist (and Nobel Prize-winning economist) Paul Krugman calculated that, if enacted, the Trump tax cuts would even yield a $700 billion windfall to wealthy foreigners who own U.S. equities.

And perhaps the greatest irony revealed in the documents is that Trump’s campaign attacks on his “globalist” opponent were themselves partially sponsored by offshore cash. According to the Guardian, the billionaire Mercer family — which funds alt-right website Breitbart and is closely linked to ultranationalist ideologue Stephen K. Bannon — “built a $60m war chest for conservative causes inside their family foundation by using an offshore investment vehicle to avoid U.S. tax.”

it’s not surprising, then, that Trump parrots Bannon’s divisive blood-and-soil ethno-nationalism while coming up short on his economic promises.

“Taxes are, as a noted American jurist put it, the price we pay for civilization,” noted an editorial in the Guardian, which is one of the publications scrutinizing the documents. “Voters tax themselves, among other things, for schools, roads, a health service, for welfare provision, to pay their soldiers and build a diplomatic corps. When a group at the top of society secedes and forms a globally mobile republic, able to choose which jurisdiction they wish to operate under, the public is right to ask why we allow this to happen. Why should taxes just be for the little people?”

Trump campaigned for the “forgotten people.” But he seems increasingly bound up with the “globally mobile republic” he so vehemently decried.

Ishaan Tharoor The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/ishaan-tharoor

Russians here and Russians there, more confirmation of the Steele dossier

Carter Page’s bizarre testimony before the House Intelligence Committee supported some key elements of the infamous dossier compiled by a former British spy.

The former foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign told lawmakers last week about his visits to Russia before and after the election, when he met with government and business leaders, reported Business Insider.

Page confirmed he had emailed campaign adviser J.D. Gordon July 8, 2016, from Moscow — on a trip approved by former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski — to say he had gotten “incredible insights and outreach from a few Russian legislators and senior members of the presidential administration here.”

That seems to confirm findings by former British spy Christopher Steele, who reported in his dossier that “official close to Presidential Administration Head, S. Ivanov, confided in a compatriot that a senior colleague in the Internal Political Department of the PA, Divyekin (nfd) also had met secretly with Page on his recent visit.”

According to Steele’s source, Diveykin told Page the Kremlin had damaging information on Hillary Clinton that they wanted to turn over to the Trump campaign.

Page denied meeting with Diveykin and told the committee that “senior members of the presidential administration,” as described in his email, was actually just a brief chat with deputy Prime Minister Arkadiy Dvorkovich.

He also claimed his reference to legislators meant only a few people shaking his hands in passing during the trip.

Page also confirmed that he “possibly” had contacted the head of investor relations at the Russian oil company Rosneft in advance of his July 2016 visit.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the committee’s ranking Democrat, pointed out that Rosneft’s CEO, Igor Sechin, was under U.S. sanctions as part of the Magnitsky Act.

A U.S. intelligence source claimed in September 2016 that Page met with Sechin, who raised the issue of lifting those sanctions after the election.

A Russian source told Steele that Sechin and Page held a secret meeting to discuss “the issues of future bilateral energy cooperation and prospects for an associated move to lift Ukraine-related western sanctions against Russia.”

Steele alleged that Sechin offered Page the brokerage of a 19 percent stake in Rosneft in exchange for getting U.S. sanctions lifted against oligarchs close to Russian president Vladmir Putin.

Page denied “directly” expressing support for lifting sanctions, but he admitted

that Andrey Baranov, the head of investor relations, “may have briefly mentioned” the sale of a significant percentage of Rosneft in July.

A 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft changed hands in December under mysterious circumstances, and Page returned to Moscow the day after the deal was signed to meet with “some top managers” at the company.

He has denied meeting with Sechin while there, but agrees it would have been “a great honor.”

also

J.D. Gordon Quote from NBC news “ I discouraged Carter from taking the trip to Moscow in the first place because it was a bad idea. Since I refused to forward his speech request form for approval, he eventually went around me directly to campaign leadership