TRUMP ENVOY ERIK PRINCE MET WITH CEO OF RUSSIAN DIRECT INVESTMENT FUND IN SEYCHELLES
SHORTLY BEFORE Donald Trump’s inauguration, Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and head of Frontier Services Group, traveled to the Seychelles, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, and met with a Russian official close to President Vladimir Putin. According to the Washington Post, the meeting between the Russian and Prince, who presented himself as an unofficial envoy of Trump, took place “around January 11” and was brokered by Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, to establish a backchannel between the president-elect and Putin.
The identity of the Russian individual was not disclosed, but on January 11, a Turkish-owned Bombardier Global 5000 charter plane flew Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, to the Seychelles, flight records obtained by The Intercept show. Dmitriev’s plane was an unscheduled charter flight and flew to the island with two other Russian individuals, both women. The RDIF is a $10 billion sovereign wealth fund created by the Russian government in 2011.
Trump Pressed Top Republicans to End Senate Russia Inquiry
WASHINGTON — President Trump over the summer repeatedly urged senior Senate Republicans, including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to end the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, according to a half dozen lawmakers and aides. Mr. Trump’s requests were a highly unusual intervention from a president into a legislative inquiry involving his family and close aides.
Mr. Trump’s requests of lawmakers to end the Senate investigation came during a period in the summer when the president was particularly consumed with Russia and openly raging at his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from any inquiries into Russian meddling in the election. Mr. Trump often vented to his own aides and even declared his innocence to virtual strangers he came across on his New Jersey golf course.
In this same period, the president complained frequently to Mr. McConnell about not doing enough to bring the investigation to an end, a Republican official close to the leader said.
Mr. Burr told other senators that Mr. Trump had stressed that it was time to “move on” from the Russia issue, using that language repeatedly, according to people who spoke with Mr. Burr over the summer. One Republican close to Mr. Burr, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Trump had been “very forceful.”
Mr. Burr said Mr. Trump was not fully aware of the impropriety of his request because the president still has the mind-set of a businessman rather than a politician. “Businessmen are paid to skip things that they think they can skip and get away with,” he said.
Jeff Sessions refused to say whether Trump asked him to hinder Russia investigation, says member of House Intelligence Committee
In White House, Flynn Pitched Russian Foreign Nuclear Plan From Company He’d Advised
secretly lobbying for a huge Middle East nuclear power deal while serving as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. New details have emerged this week of just how far Flynn’s alleged lobbying effort might’ve gone.
Soon after Trump’s inauguration, Flynn received a memo from his former business associate Robert McFarlane, co-founder of the company IP3, about the plan, which envisioned a large consortium of countries, including the U.S. and Russia, building a fleet of nuclear reactors across the Middle East.
Flynn, who had served as an adviser to IP3 in 2016, reportedly told a staffer on the National Security Council to transform McFarlane’s memo into a policy directive for Trump to sign.
To promote such a plan “in the first week of the administration without any policy process made no sense,” a source familiar with the event told the Post. “It was a business proposal in the form of a policy paper.”
According to the Journal, Flynn also “talked favorably” about the proposed scheme ― dubbed by McFarlane as the “Marshall Plan for the Middle East” ― to Thomas Barrack Jr., a friend of Trump’s who served as chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. This discussion reportedly triggered several conversations about the deal between Barrack and White House officials including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
White House May Share Nuclear Power Technology With Saudi Arabia
The overture follows an intense and secretive lobbying push involving Michael Flynn, Tom Barrack, Rick Gates and even Iran-Contra figure Robert McFarlane.
Mike Flynn’s Promotion of Nuclear-Plant Project Went Deep Into the White House
Project backers drafted memos for President Trump and Flynn allies continued to push the plan after the Trump security adviser was ousted
Private-sector backers of a controversial Middle East nuclear-power plan worked with former national security adviser Mike Flynn to promote it inside the White House, to the point of sending him a draft memo for the president to sign authorizing the project.
At issue was a proposal to build dozens of nuclear reactors, billed by its backers as a “Marshall Plan for the Middle East.”
Inside White House, Michael Flynn pushed proposal from company he had advised
His advocacy for the project in the White House surprised some administration officials and raised concerns that Flynn had a conflict of interest. From August to December 2016, he said he served as an adviser to the company, IP3, reporting later on his disclosure forms that he ended his association with the firm just weeks before joining the administration.
To push the idea "in the first week of the administration without any policy process made no sense," said a person familiar with episode who, like others with knowledge of the incident, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. "It was a business proposal in the form of a policy paper."
Flynn could deliver a knockout blow to Trump
potential liability stemming from Flynn’s failure to register as a foreign agent, his alleged involvement in a scheme to return to Turkey a cleric whom its president blames for a coup and promoting a nuclear power project on behalf of a client when Flynn was in the White House.
He might provide details of Russian influence actors — how they operated and how they contacted and connected with him.
Flynn’s help could be related to former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has already been indicted for financial crimes relating to his connection with Russian players. Alternatively, Flynn’s help might be related to his dealings with President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, either with regard to alleged efforts to set up a “back channel” or with regard to Kushner’s own financial dealings with Russians. And, of most concern to Trump, Flynn could provide evidence relating to interference with the Russia probe, including Trump’s efforts to get then-FBI Director James B. Comey to lay off Flynn. The ABC News report, if accurate, suggests it is the latter, with fatal consequences for the Trump presidency.
If there was collusion, Flynn almost certainly would have known about it. He was both Trump’s closet foreign policy adviser and a pro-Russia operator who traveled to Russia to give a lavishly compensated speech and appeared on RT, Russia’s propaganda network, which he asserted was no different than any American news outlet. (RT has since be required to register as a foreign agent.)
Exclusive: Mideast nuclear plan backers bragged of support of top Trump aide Flynn
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Backers of a U.S.-Russian plan to build nuclear reactors across the Middle East bragged after the U.S. election they had backing from Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn for
a project that required lifting sanctions on Russia, documents reviewed by Reuters show.
The documents, which have not previously been made public, reveal new aspects of the plan, including the proposed
involvement of a Russian company currently under U.S. sanctions to manufacture nuclear equipment. That company, major engineering and construction firm OMZ OAO, declined to comment.
The Latest: AP sources link KT McFarland to Flynn papers
Former Deputy National Security Adviser KT McFarland is an unnamed senior official referred to in the court papers filed in the Michael Flynn case.
She was involved in a discussion with Flynn about what he would say to Russian government officials in response to U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia last year.
That's according to two former officials on President Donald Trump's transition team.
Special Counsel Examines Possible Role Flynn Played in Seeking Clinton Emails From Hackers
Mueller probe of potential link between Trump campaign and Russia follows trail of GOP operative’s correspondence
The effort to seek out hackers who were believed to have stolen Mrs. Clinton’s emails, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was led by a longtime Republican activist, Peter W. Smith. In correspondence and conversations with his colleagues, Mr. Smith portrayed Mr. Flynn as an ally in those efforts and implied that other senior Trump campaign officials were coordinating with him, which they have denied. He also named Mr. Flynn’s consulting firm and his son in the correspondence and conversations.
Mr. Smith believed that some 33,000 emails that Mrs. Clinton said were personal and had been deleted had been obtained by hackers. Last year, in the final months of the presidential campaign, he made contact with what he said were five groups of hackers, two of which he believed were comprised of Russians, who claimed to have obtained the emails.
JARED KUSHNER FAILED TO DISCLOSE HE LED A FOUNDATION FUNDING ILLEGAL ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS BEFORE U.N. VOTE
Jared Kushner failed to disclose his role as a co-director of the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation from 2006 to 2015, a time when the group funded an Israeli settlement considered to be illegal under international law, on financial records he filed with the Office of Government Ethics earlier this year.
attempted to sway a United Nations Security Council vote against an anti-settlement resolution passed just before Donald Trump took office, which condemned the structure of West Bank settlements. The failure to disclose his role in the foundation—at a time when he was being tasked with serving as the president’s Middle East peace envoy—follows a pattern of egregious omissions that would bar any other official from continuing to serve in the West Wing,
Kushner demanded future National Security Adviser Mike Flynn "get on the phone to every member of the Security Council and tell them to delay the vote" on the West Bank settlement resolution, Buzzfeed reported Friday.
Manafort and a Russian colleague have been secretly ghostwriting an English-language editorial that appeared to defend Manafort’s work advising a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine.
They said Manafort worked on the draft as recently as last week with “a long-time Russian colleague . . . who is currently based in Russia and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service.” They indicated they would file further supporting evidence under seal.
The Russian colleague was not identified in court papers. However, Manafort has had a long-standing Russian employee named Konstantin Kilimnik who ran Manafort’s office in Kiev during the 10 years he did consulting work there.
Prosecutors said the editorial Manafort was writing violated a court order prohibiting the parties in the case from making public statements outside of court that could influence jurors.
The piece “clearly was undertaken to influence the public’s opinion of defendant Manafort,” prosecutors wrote, noting there would be no other reason for Manafort and the colleague to have it published under someone else’s name.
The allegation is the first time that prosecutors have claimed any former Trump campaign official has had contacts with a Russian tied to that country’s intelligence services.
Prosecutors: Manafort tried to write op-ed with Russian operative while under house arrest
NEW: Robert Mueller subpoenas Donald Trump’s Deutsche Bank accounts
Don’t forget Deutsche Bank had a major role in a $10B Russian money laundering scheme, paying US & UK over $670M in civil penalties; also gave Kushner $285M loan right before Election Day
Mueller is said to ask about bank’s dealings with president
Trump owes lender about $300 million for real estate loans
Deutsche Bank for months has rebuffed calls by Democratic lawmakers to provide more transparency over the roughly $300 million Trump owed to the bank for his real estate dealings prior to becoming president. Representative Maxine Waters of California and other Democrats have asked whether the bank’s loans to Trump, made years before he ran for president, were in any way connected to Russia. The bank previously rejected those demands, saying sharing client data would be illegal unless it received a formal request to do so. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank stretches back some two decades and the roughly $300 million he owed to the bank represented nearly half of his outstanding debt, according to a July 2016 analysis by Bloomberg. That figure includes a $170-million loan Trump took out to finish a hotel in Washington. He also has two mortgages against his Trump National Doral Miami resort and a loan against his tower in Chicago.
SEVEN PAGES OF BOT POSTING STARTING AT 4:30 AM IN THE MORNING.
How ‘Mirror Trades’ Moved Billions From Russia
“Mirror trades” are at the root of more than $670 million in penalties that [Deutsche Bank AG has agreed to pay U.S. and U.K. regulators, and the bank may face even more sanctions. The U.S. Justice Department continues to look into trades emanating from the bank’s Moscow office.
Kushner firm’s $285 million Deutsche Bank loan came just before Election Day
One month before Election Day, Jared Kushner’s real estate company finalized a $285 million loan as part of a refinancing package for its property near Times Square in Manhattan.
The loan came at a critical moment. Kushner was playing a key role in the presidential campaign of his father-in-law, Donald Trump. The lender, Deutsche Bank, was negotiating to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges from New York state regulators that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. The cases were settled in December and January.
Now, Kushner’s association with Deutsche Bank is among a number of financial matters that could come under focus as his business activities are reviewed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining Kushner as part of a broader investigation into possible Russian influence in the election.
The October deal illustrates the extent to which Kushner was balancing roles as a top adviser to Trump and a real estate company executive. After the election, Kushner juggled duties for the Trump transition team and his corporation as he prepared to move to the White House. The Washington Post has reported that investigators are probing Kushner’s separate December meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, and with Russian banker Sergey Gorkov, the head of Vnesheconombank, a state development bank
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Flynn Said Russian Sanctions Would be ‘Ripped Up,’ Whistle-Blower Says
Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, told a former business associate that economic sanctions against Russia would be “ripped up” as one of the Trump administration’s first acts
Mr. Flynn believed that ending the sanctions could allow a business project he had once participated in to move forward, according to the whistle-blower. The account is the strongest evidence to date that the Trump administration wanted to end the sanctions immediately, and suggests that Mr. Flynn had a possible economic incentive for the United States to forge a closer relationship with Russia.
Mr. Flynn had worked on a business venture to partner with Russia to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East until June 2016, but remained close with the people involved afterward. On Inauguration Day, according to the whistle-blower, Mr. Flynn texted the former business associate to say that the project was “good to go.”
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