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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Springtime for Russia

 In Defying the Oddswe discuss Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign.




Michael Isikoff at Yahoo News:
The FBI has obtained secret wiretaps collected by Spanish police of conversations involving Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s Central Bank who has forged close ties with U.S. lawmakers and the National Rifle Association, that led to a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. during the gun lobby’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., in May 2016, a top Spanish prosecutor said Friday.
José Grinda, who has spearheaded investigations into Spanish organized crime, said that bureau officials in recent months requested and were provided transcripts of wiretapped conversations between Torshin and Alexander Romanov, a convicted Russian money launderer. On the wiretaps, Romanov refers to Torshin as “El Padrino,” the godfather.

“Just a few months ago, the wiretaps of these telephone conversations were given to the FBI,” Grinda said in response to a question from Yahoo News during a talk he gave at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington. Asked if he was concerned about Torshin’s meetings with Donald Trump Jr. and other American political figures, Grinda replied: “Mr. Trump’s son should be concerned.”

Aaron Blake at WP:
When it was revealed that a U.S. firm with ties to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg had paid Michael Cohen half a million dollars, the firm, Columbus Nova, assured the oligarch had nothing to do with it. “Columbus Nova is an investment management company solely owned and controlled by Americans,” the company assured. “Neither Viktor Vekselberg nor anyone else outside of Columbus Nova was involved in the decision to hire Cohen or provided funding for his engagement.”
We still have no proof that's not the case, but it just got more difficult to believe Vekselberg was a bystander. And it could complicate both Cohen's legal situation and the Russia investigation.
The New York Times and CNN both reported Friday that Vekselberg joined Columbus Nova head Andrew Intrater at a meeting with Cohen at Trump Tower on Jan. 9, 2017 — 11 days before Donald Trump was inaugurated.