Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cherchez la femme

The Hill has an extraordinary piece up about the woman at the center of the Fredo Trump crisis. So help me understand how this works:
The Russian lawyer who penetrated Donald Trump’s inner circle was initially cleared into the United States by the Justice Department under “extraordinary circumstances” before she embarked on a lobbying campaign last year that ensnared the president’s eldest son, members of Congress, journalists and State Department officials, according to court and Justice Department documents and interviews.

This revelation means it was the Obama Justice Department that enabled the newest and most intriguing figure in the Russia-Trump investigation to enter the country without a visa.

Later, a series of events between an intermediary for the attorney and the Trump campaign ultimately led to the controversy surrounding the president's eldest son.
So what were the extraordinary circumstances?
[I]in an interview with NBC News earlier this week, Veselnitskaya acknowledged her contacts with Donald Trump Jr. and in Washington were part of a lobbying campaign to get members of Congress and American political figures to see "the real circumstances behind the Magnitsky Act.”

That work was a far cry from the narrow reason the U.S. government initially gave for allowing Veselnitskaya into the U.S. in late 2015, according to federal court records.

The Moscow lawyer had been turned down for a visa to enter the U.S. lawfully but then was granted special immigration parole by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch for the limited purpose of helping a company owned by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, her client, defend itself against a Justice Department asset forfeiture case in federal court in New York City.

During a court hearing in early January 2016 as Veselnitskaya’s permission to stay in the country was about to expire, federal prosecutors described how rare the grant of parole immigration was as Veselnitskaya pleaded for more time to remain in the United States.
That was January. We go back to the picture of Veselnitskaya, sitting front and center behind the former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, in a congressional hearing in June, 2016.

Image result for Natalia Veselnitskaya michael mcfaul
Why is she there?
There's more:
Sources close to the lobbying effort to rename the Magnisky Act, conducted over the summer of 2016, said it fizzled after only a month or two. They described Veselnitskaya, who does not speak English, as a mysterious and shadowy figure. They said they were confused as to whether she had an official role in the lobbying campaign, although she was present for several meetings.

The sources also described their interactions with Veselnitskaya in the same way that Trump Jr. did. They claimed not to know who she worked for or what her motives were.

“Natalia didn’t speak a word of English,” said one source. “Don’t let anyone tell you this was a sophisticated lobbying effort. It was the least professional campaign I’ve ever seen. If she’s the cream of the Moscow intelligence community then we have nothing to worry about.”
Now think back -- the reason Veselnitskaya was in the country in the first place was to help someone at trial. Does a lawyer who doesn't speak English seem like an individual who would be useful in a judicial proceeding?

To sum up -- Natalia Veselnitskaya was lobbying Fredo Trump six months after she should have been back to Moscow. Days later, she's sitting in on a congressional hearing. Someone wanted this woman here. Much, much more at the link, including the role of a former Congressman from California named Ron Dellums.


Gino said...

I'm calling for a full investigation of this Russian chick. Trump needs to get his offense on it right away.

Mr. D said...

I agree. Full sunlight. We need to know why no one from the Obama administration followed up on her after the case was over. She was hanging around without a visa for six months, and was able to waltz into a congressional hearing. How does that happen.

While we're at it, let's investigate John McCain for his role in the Steele dossier. If we're really gonna investigate Republicans, let's pick the right ones.

Gino said...

I never like McCain. One if the earlier things trump did in the campaign was to rudely disrespect McCain's POWness..classic, and I loved it.

Bike Bubba said...

A special value visa for a women who hardly speaks English, not to mention a primo seat at Congressional hearings. Lots to investigate about this one, and I doubt much of it involves Donald Trump, father or son.