As shown in Part 2, Baby George Papadopoulos had his one and only photo-op style encounter with the Donald at the March 31 foreign policy advisory committee meeting, and then it was back to London for several more months of doing absolutely nothing that impacted either the national security of the United States or the election of Donald Trump.
Still, during the next three months the foundation events of RussiaGate transpired—-the Ambassador Downer meeting and the Trump Tower meeting–and in a matter so patently innocuous and discombobulated that the Mueller Report strains to put a veneer of gravity on what amounts to a great big belly-laughing farce.
That’s why perhaps it describes at length Baby George’s serial skyping sessions and email communications with one Ivan Timofeev. The latter was a Moscow-based Russian academic with more than 70 publications to his credit, and who was a program director at the Russian equivalent of the Council on Foreign Relations.
While Timofeev was one of Professor Mifsud’s ballyhooed Russian contracts, he was no spook nor any kind of Russian agent. After all, he came to the US in mid-2017 and was questioned by the Mueller’s FBI sleuths at JFK about his relationship with Papadopoulos, the DNC hacks, and about the “thousands of emails with dirt on Hillary Clinton.” His cellphone and laptop were seized, too.
Yet he was never arrested or indicted, and the Mueller report has nothing to say about the episode. That is, they didn’t find a thing that linked him to the Russian state or any of its alleged meddling in the 2016 election.
Timofeev was actually just a part of a sort of Moscow Welcome Wagon for visiting foreign businessmen and government officials centered on the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and the Valdai Discussion Club, which is billed as the Russian equivalent of Davos. It was at these Welcome Wagon conferences, seminars and talk-a-thons that Mifsud had made his contacts.
But its main current tie to the Kremlin seems to be Putin’s annual speech to the Valdai Discussion Club, which isn’t all that sinister when you consider that several hundred European and American academics also speak at its events each year. In fact, these harmless Welcome Wagon contacts thru the auspices of Professor Mifsud actually reveal the insensible “total taint” theory that undergirds the whole RussiaGate narrative.
To wit, we are supposed to believe that Putin is Joseph Stalin incarnate; that all of Russia is one vast totalitarian entity; and that all Russian businessmen, academics and government officials function as “cut-outs” at the behest of Putin and his sinister intelligence services.
Absent that utterly false predicate, in fact, the whole narrative falls apart because there have been exactly zero accusations that Trump operatives ever had contacts with real Russian intelligence agents, as opposed to civilians like professor Timofeev.
In any event, the Mueller report shows that Baby George furious skyping with Timofeev and inquiries about a Team Trump visit to Moscow led to exactly nothing over the course of many months.
Moreover, professor Timofeev was virtually the only real Russian that Baby George actually communicated with from his perch at the sketchy London Center for International Law Practice (LCILP).
Beyond that, even the Mueller Report’s exhaustively footnoted record of Baby George’s comings and goings in London reveal little more than fleeting email contracts with what were essentially Russian PR spokesman at embassies in Ireland and Washington, and a couple of further email exchanges with the aforementioned (Part 2) Olga Polonskaya, who wasn’t Putin’s niece and didn’t deliver a single meeting or further contact to Papadopoulos.
At the end of the day, of course, Baby George’s main Russian “friend”, professor Timofeev, was not charged with anything by the Mueller hit squad, and actually told CNN that the whole episode had been to little avail because Baby George was not up to the task of even normal diplomacy:
“We did not close the door to the guy, but we did not take it seriously,” Timofeev told CNN earlier this year in his Moscow office. “He was very enthusiastic. He was very interested in Russia and improving relations, but he seemed to be so unprofessional and so unprepared for a serious conversation.”
Nevertheless, after returning from making the rounds at the Moscow Welcome Wagon, Mifsud had breakfast with Papadopoulos on April 26, where he famously learned that Russians had obtained “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails”. Ten days thereafter, Papadopoulos meet Australian Ambassador Downer at a London bar, where he apparently passed on Mifsud’s gossip.
But here’s the thing. Baby George’s allegedly damning conversation with Downer was not forwarded to Washington by the Australian government for nearly four months, when it was finally conveyed on July 26—a date which is not at all coincidental.
That is to say, the Australian government did not pass on the Papadopoulos meeting until a few days after the DNC emails had been published by Wikileaks, and had become a worldwide sensation. Yet the ‘thousands of emails” that Papadopoulos had blubbered to Downer about were based on Mifsud’s mid-April gleanings in Moscow—so they could not have been about the DNC emails. Even by the lights of the DNC’s contractor, CrowdStrike, the breach came well after that date.
In short, Baby George had been blabbering about second hand gossip from Mifsud, which was surely about the old business of the Hillary Clinton emails from 2013 and prior years which had been routed through her unprotected home server. But by the summer of 2016 the FBI knew that these 33,000 unaccounted for emails could have been hacked by virtually anyone in the world; and that the “bleach-bit” emails were a red hot topic of pursuit among all GOP pols and most especially the anti-Hillary brigade at Fox News.
What we are saying is that there was no reason whatsoever to link the Downer/Papadopoulos meeting palaver with the Wikileaks publication of the DNC emails—even if they had been hacked by the Russian security services, which we will show in Part 4 was not the case.
Four days after receiving the Downer cable from the Australian government, of course, the formal counter-intelligence investigation was launched by the anti-Trump cabal at the top of the FBI.
But here’s the irony: Nobody at Trump Tower was paying a whit of attention to Baby George. The latter literally sent dozens of emails according to the Muller Report to upper tier Trump campaign officials including Stephen Miller, Corey Lewandowski, Sam Clovis, Walid Phares and Paul Manafort, after he took over leadership of the campaign.
Most of these missives were about Papadopoulos’ pet project—-a visit to Moscow by Team Trump, preferably with the Donald himself at the helm. But notwithstanding all of Manafort’s alleged linkage to the Russian state through his years on the Ukraine lobbying beat, here is what Manafort had to say about still another meeting missive from Papadopoulos in late May:
Let’s discuss. We need someone to communicate that (Trump) is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the Campaign so as not to send any signal.
The real signal, however, was that Manafort did not even bother to copy Baby George on the above policy decision. Yet it effectively put Papadopoulos out of business because the vague notion of a Moscow meeting—which would have been totally public and appropriate by its very terms—was about the only thing he did during his entire 7-month stint on the Trump advisory committee.
After a few more months of futile wheel-spinning, Papadopoulos was ignominiously kicked off the campaign in early October for essentially saying favorable things about rapprochement with Russia–or what the Donald had been saying all along. That is to say, a key pillar of the RussiaGate narrative was built on the meanderings of an inept kid stumbling around in London, who passed on second-hand gossip about Hillary’s missing State department emails to people at Trump HQ who never once gave Baby George the time of day, and all of that is by the authoritative word of Mueller’s 13 Angry Democrats themselves.
The Trump Tower meeting which happened at the same time—June 9—is even more preposterous.
Indeed, this meeting is at the heart of the overall RussiaGate mania and involves a literal brain freeze with respect to its central purpose, which was a pitch about dirt on Hillary Clinton by a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Needless to say, she was not sent to New York by Vlad Putin to talk up some collusion plans. In part that’s because Ms.Veselnitskaya had no ties to Putin, the Kremlin or the Russian intelligence services, but mainly because she speaks not a word of English!
Do we really need to point out that Putin is way too smart to risk having a super-sensitive discussion about meddling in the American election lost in the translation?
In fact, the Trump Tower meeting was a just a fly-buy. Natalia was actually in New York doing god’s work, as it were, defending a Russian company, Prevezon Holdings, against hokey money-laundering charges related to the abominable Magnitsky Act and its contemptible promoter, Bill Browder.
In fact, as explained below, the whole Trump Tower meeting wasn’t about the American election at all.
Veselnitskaya’s pitch was all about Russia’s deep (and warranted) grievances at Washington’s meddling in its own internal affairs. And, in particular, the bellicose demonization of Russian business and government leaders that stems from Washington’s imposition of sanctions on upwards of 50 Russians under Magnitsky at the behest of Bill Browder, a US based hedge fund crook who Moscow believed had absconded with billions of illegal Russian profits prior to 2005.
Moreover, the above characterization is exactly how the Mueller Report describes the “Russian” pitch at the meeting attended by Donald Trump Jr., Manafort and Jared Kushner:
“The meeting lasted approximately 20 minutes”.
We are of a mind to say stop right there, bucko!
An unprecedented conspiracy between a major party candidate for President and the Russian state was materially transacted in a 20 minute meeting? In fact, the whole balance of the Mueller narrative shows that nothing remotely smacking of that happened.
Goldstone recalled that Trump Jr. invited Veselnitskaya to begin but did not say anything about the subject of the meeting. Participants agree that Veselnitskaya stated that the Ziff brothers (hedge fund billionaires and big Dem donors) had broken Russian laws and had donated their profits to the DNC or the Clinton Campaign. She asserted that the Ziff brother had engaged in tax evasion and money laundering in both the United States and Russia. According to Akhmetshin (one of the US based Russian attendees), Trump Jr. asked follow-up questions about how the alleged payments could be tied specifically to the Clinton Campaign, but Veselnitskaya indicated that she could not trace the money once it entered the United States. Kaveldadze (another US based Russian attendee) similarly recalled that Trump Jr. asked what they have on Clinton, and Kushner became aggravated and asked “what are we doing here?”
Akhmetshin then spoke about U.S. sanctions imposed under the Magnitsky Act and Russia’s response prohibiting the U.S. adoption of Russian children. Several participants recalled that Trump Jr. commented that Trump is a private citizen, and there was nothing they could do at that time…
At some point in the (brief) meeting Kushner sent an iMessage to Manafort stating “waste of time”, followed immediately by two separate emails to assistants at Kushner Companies with requests that they call him to give him an excuse to leave. Samochornov recalled that Kushner departed the meeting before it concluded.
And that’s all she wrote. The Mueller Report drives a stake right through the ballyhooed Trump Tower meeting with the above passage.
Nowhere does Mueller allege that any discussion of the US election occurred nor was there any talk whatsoever about Russian state help for the Trump campaign. And the “dirt” they had on Hillary had to do with money that Browder had spread around to his US investors, not anything related to the Clinton campaign or DNC.
Indeed, the so-called Russian Lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was not in New York in behalf of the Russian government at all—nor did she have a word to say about the American election campaign.
To the contrary, she was in NYC to defend her Russian client against a money-laundering case had been brought to the headline-seeking US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) and Senator Chuckles Schumer’s former chief hatchet-man, Preet Bharara, by none other than Bill Browder; and every stich of evidence presented by the government had been exactly as dropped into Bharara’s inbox by Browder without further investigation.
What’s more, the alleged $230 million theft from the Russian Treasury that Veselnitskaya complained about during the Trump Tower meeting was one and the same $230 million that is the centerpiece of Bill Browder’s cock-and-bull story about how corrupt Russian police had stole it from his firm (Hermitage Capital where the Ziff Brothers were major investors) in the first place back in 2005 via an alleged fraudulent tax refund scheme.
Stated differently, the Russian government claimed that Browder stole the loot, not Veselnitskaya’s clients; and that the case belonged in a Russian Court, not the SDNY where it was being tried.
In point of fact, Browder and his partners had pulled off an epic swindle during the wild west days of post-Soviet Russia, plundering billions by the unauthorized purchasing of Gazprom stock and then failing to pay the requisite Russian taxes. For the offense of not bringing Putin his expected tithe, Browder had been run out of Russia on a rail in the fall of 2005.
Needless to say, it doesn’t really matter who stole what and who was lying about the $230 million. The relevant fact is that Veselnitskaya’s client, Prevezon Holdings, had been caught up in a Kangaroo Court and had become the victims of another huge publicity stunt by serial con artist Bill Browder.
As is now well known, Browder had he turned the murky 2009 prison death of his accountant, Sergei Magnitsky, who was also charged with tax evasion, into a revenge crusade against Putin.
That resulted in a huge lobbying campaign subsidized by Browder’s illicit billions and spear-headed by the Senate’s most blood-thirsty trio of warmongers—- Senators McCain, Graham and Cardin—to enact the 2012 Magnitsky Act, under which the aforementioned 50 Russian oligarchs, bureaucrats and Putin cronies are being sanctioned.
These sanctions, of course, are the very excrescence of Imperial Washington’s arrogant meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. That is, sweeping Washington-dictated sanctions on Russians (and other foreigners) it deems complicit in Magnitsky’s death in a Russian jail and for other alleged human rights violations in Russia and elsewhere.
Needless to say, imperial over-reach doesn’t get any more egregious than this. Deep State apparatchiks in the US Treasury Department get to try Russian citizens in absentia and without due process for vaguely worded crimes under American law that were allegedly committed in Russia; and then to seize their property and persons if they should venture to travel abroad or involve themselves in any act of global commerce where Washington can browbeat local satrapies and “allies” into cooperation!
Only in an imperial capital steeped in a self-conferred entitlement to function as Global Hegemon would such a preposterous extra-territorial power-grab be even thinkable. After all, what happens to Russians in Russian prisons is absolutely none of Washington’s business. Nor by any stretch of the imagination does it pose any threat whatsoever to America’s homeland security.
So the irony of the Trump Tower nothingburger is that the alleged Russian agent in the meeting was actually there fighting against Washington’s meddling in Russia’s internal affairs, not hooking up with Trump’s campaign to further a Kremlin plot to attack American democracy.
Indeed, the Magnitsky Act constitutes such an offensive affront to Russian sovereignty that it is not surprising that Putin and his gang are on the warpath against Bill Browder. They understandably and correctly view him as solely responsible for its enactment by dint of a relentless, well-financed anti-Putin demonization campaign.
And since the entire Prevezon case had been fabricated by Browder as just another maneuver in his fanatical campaign to vilify Russia, it is very obvious why the Russians wanted the Prevezon case defeated, and, in fact, ended up settling for a token $6 million on the eve of the trial.
In this context, the only basis for Natalia Veselnitskaya’s alleged Putin ties was through Russia’s Prosecutor General, Yuri Chaika.
The latter had made it a personal crusade to pursue Browder as a fugitive from Russian justice—he was convicted in absentia of tax fraud and other crimes in 2014—and an enemy of the state.
As one report described Chaika’s campaign:
Chaika’s foray into American politics began in earnest in April 2016. That is when his office gave Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher and three other US representatives a confidential letter detailing American investor Bill Browder’s “illegal scheme of buying up Gazprom shares without permission of the Government of Russia” between 1999 and 2006, one month after Rohrabacher returned from Moscow.
As it happened, Veselnitskaya had apparently brought a memo to the Trump Tower meeting that contained many of the same talking points as one written by Chaika’s office two months earlier (for the Rohrabacher meeting)
So there you have it. The “dirt” that Don Jr. had been promised was essentially a Trump Tower door opener so that Veselnitskaya could get in some licks against Browder and the hated Magnitsky Act.
Moreover, the dirt that she did have had nothing to do with the DNC and Podesta email hacks or even Hillary’s 33,000 missing emails. As described above in Mueller’s own words, it was still more anti-Browder stuff—a claim that certain Browder associates were then funding the Dems and the Clinton campaign with the tainted Russian money.
Indeed, here is the distinctly un-smoking gun—the talking points that the “Russian lawyer” brought to Trump Tower (originally in Russian). Yet there is no way that anyone in their right mind can interpret this document as a pitch to meddle in America’s 2016 elections—and further explains why the Mueller gang found nothing at all nefarious about the Trump Tower meeting.
In fact, what it reveals is the sweeping Russian antipathy to Browder and the fact that his completely fabricated and self-serving Magnitsky campaign has been a godsend to the Washington War Party by fueling irrational, anti-Russian sentiment throughout the Imperial City. That is, it was just the thing to keep the $800 billion national security pork barrel full to the brim and overflowing:
The relationship between the United States and the Russian Federation today is tense with disagreements, the source of which lie in U.S. lawmakers granting international satisfaction to a fugitive criminal accused of tax fraud in Russia, a former U.S. citizen, William Browder, who in 1998 renounced American citizenship for tax reasons.
In December 2012, after a major, three-year lobbying campaign, the United States adopted the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, which laid out the in fact nonexistent story of a “lawyer” Sergey Magnitsky who allegedly exposed corruption crimes and embezzlement from the Russian Treasury, for which he was arrested, tortured and beaten, leading to his death in November 2009.
This law was in essence the start of a new round of the Cold War between the United States and Russia, putting on the scales the interests of a group of fraudsters on one side, and interstate relations on the other.
….Since the end of 1999, Browder’s largest client became the company Ziff Brothers Investment, which began aggressively buying Gazprom stock through a scheme to bypass a Russian legislative ban on foreign companies purchasing this stock on the internal market…..Once Browder’s activities drew the attention of the Russian law enforcement authorities, and he was not allowed any more to visit Russia on a tourist visa, in January 2006 all the assets controlled by the Ziff Brothers Investments were removed from the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation.
According to the available information, in 2006 the American owners of the chain of companies mentioned above gained an income of over $800 million, including 66 million shares of Gazprom received as dividends.
According to preliminary estimates, the damage to the Russian budget in the form of unpaid taxes from these activities exceeded 1 billion rubles.
….According to information we have, the Ziff brothers took part in financing both Obama election campaigns, and the American press call them “the main sponsor of the Democrats”. It cannot be ruled out that they took part in financing the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
Browder, realizing that sooner or later his lies would come out in a jury trial in New York (i.e. the Prevezon case), used the period of the suspension in the case to intensify his efforts to globalize his false story and strengthen his alibi. With the help of Senator Cardin, his long-time collaborator, he has the Global Magnitsky Act introduced in the Senate last December…..
Browder’s plan is simple: to place the global Magnitsky Act on the table of the new President of the United States, to prevent the new administration from reviewing the interstate relations between the United States and Russia, so diligently antagonized at the instigation of Browder and others interested in this.
It doesn’t get any more straight forward than this. The purpose of Veselnitskaya’s visit to Trump Tower in June 2016 was to share with the the Trump campaign Russia’s deeply hostile attitude toward Browder and convey that his Magnitsky Act intrusion into Russia’s internal affairs was deeply offensive to Moscow and a fundamental irritant to improved U.S./Russian relations.
As it happened, two years later at the Helsinki press conference, Putin himself reminded the Donald (and the world public) of Russia’s animus against Browder in no uncertain terms, and that the meddlers, alas, reside in the Imperial City, not the Kremlin:
“Business associates of his have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia,” Mr. Putin said. “They never paid any taxes. Neither in Russia nor in the United States. Yet the money escaped the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent huge amounts of money, $400 million, as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton.”
So at the heart of the Russian collusion story and its alleged pivotal meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 is nothing more than a half-baked effort by Russians to tell their side of the Magnitsky story; and to expose the real villain in the piece—a monumentally greedy hedge fund operator who had stolen the Russian people blind and then conveniently gave up his American citizenship so that he would neither do time in a Russian jail or pay taxes in America.
Moreover, it self evidently was no cloak-and-dagger maneuver clandestinely orchestrated by the Russian intelligence agencies. Actually, in reaching-out to the Trump campaign in behalf of her anti-Magnitsky Act agenda, Veselnitskaya used the good offices of what appears to be the Russian Justin Bieber!
Specifically, as indicated above the meeting offer came to Don Trump Jr. via a London-based PR flack named Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who knew the Trumps through the Miss Universe pageant that was held in Moscow in 2013.
Goldstone didn’t know his head from a hole in the ground when it comes to international affairs or Russian politics, but he did represent the Russian pop singer Emin Agalarov, whose father was also a Trump- style real estate mogul and had been involved in the 2013 pageant.
Said the London PR flack in an email to Don Jr:
“Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting….The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father….( this is) “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
And a very big so what!
For one thing, the last “Crown prosecutor of Russia” was assassinated by the Bolsheviks in 1917, suggesting Goldstone’s grasp of the contemporary Russian government was well less than rudimentary.
Secondly, there is neither a crime nor national security issue involved when a campaign seeks to dig-up dirt from foreign nationals. The crime is when they pay for it, and do not report the expenditure to the Federal Elections Commission.
Of course, that’s exactly what Hillary Clinton’s campaign did with its multi-million funding of the Trump Dossier, generated by foreign national Christopher Steele and intermediated to the FBI and other IC agencies by Fusion GPS.
And that gets us to the mind-boggling silliness of the whole Trump Tower affair. As seen above, the promised dirt on Hillary—the Ziff Brothers money thing—was a come-on so that Veselnitskaya (through her Russian translator) could make a pitch against the Magnitsky Act; and to also point out that after 33,000 Russian babies had been adopted by Americans pre-Magnitsky—-that avenue of adoption had been stopped cold when the Kremlin found it necessary to retaliate.
As documented by the Mueller report, Trump Jr’s emails to his secretary from the meeting long ago proved that he immediately recognized Natalia’s bait and switch ploy and either didn’t get it or was interested in the anti-Browder pitch. So he requested to be summoned to the phone so he could end the meeting.
In short, even though Veselnitskaya didn’t come to conspire and Donald Jr. wasn’t interested, anyway, there is still another ludicrous twist to the plot.
Its seem that Glenn Simpson, proprietor of Fusion GPS and the intermediary for the infamous Steele Dossier, was working both sides of the street in good beltway racketeering fashion.
That is, he also been hired by Veselnitskaya’s Russian clients (Prevezon) to make a case in Washington against the Magnitsky Act, and to also dig up dirt on the scoundrel behind it: Bill Browder.
More fantastically yet, Natalia had apparently meet with Simpson both before and after the Trump Tower meeting apparently to be coached by him on her anti-Magnitsky pitch to the Trump campaign.
So if Ms. Veselnitskaya was part of a Trump/Russian collusion conspiracy, then so was Glenn Simpson! And at one and the same time he was midwifing the Trump Dossier which purportedly exposed said conspiracy!
It doesn’t get any crazier than that.