How Did We Know Russia Coordination Would Go Back to That Beauty Pageant in Moscow 2013?
If anyone ever doubts you when you say life is stranger than fiction in the future, then just assume they’ve been living in a time capsule since 2014.
Tom Clancy died to soon-2013. Because the real life of the Trump Russia coordination scandal is better than any work of fiction ever.
Indeed, the only good fiction now is what bases itself on Trump Russia coordination.
Again Tom Clancy is looking down in disbelief. He’d have never got any tale this fanciful past the publishers.
I mean when you try to get to what happened between the Trump campaign and this Kremlin lawyer from 2013 it turns out the breadcrumbs take us back to, where else: that beauty pageant Trump went to in Moscow in 2013:
“How the Miss Universe Pageant Led to Trump Team’s Meeting With Russian Lawyer.”
Again, as a genre for a political espionage thriller, this could never sell as it’s too on the nose-too perfect to ever be believable:
“During the summer of 2013, Donald J. Trump mused about whether President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia would meet him at the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow that fall. “If so, will he become my new best friend?” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter.
“Mr. Putin did not make it, but the beauty competition in Moscow put the Trump family in touch with other people with connections to the Kremlin.”
“On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., had met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign after being promised information damaging to Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul J. Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, also attended the meeting.”
“The younger Mr. Trump issued a statement that he had agreed to the meeting at the request of an acquaintance from the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant.”
Because of course he did. This is America 2017, on the other side of the Looking Glass.
“The acquaintance was Rob Goldstone, a former British tabloid journalist and the president of a marketing company called Oui 2 Entertainment, who has worked with the Miss Universe pageant, according to two people briefed on the meeting. Mr. Goldstone told The Washington Post that he had arranged the June 9, 2016, meeting with Donald Trump Jr. on behalf of a client and had attended it along with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. On Monday, Mr. Goldstone identified the client as Emin Agalarov, a pop star in Russia.”
A pop star in Russia wanted the Trump campaign to meet with a Kremlin lawyer who claimed to have campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton but who also wanted to get rid of the Mitinsky Act.
Not to ask a dorky question but-why would that be in the interest of this Russian pop star?
Spoiler alert: because this pop star is close to Putin.
BREAKING: Rob Goldstone set up the June 9, 2016 meeting on behalf of family with close ties to Putin (the Agalarovs) https://t.co/Ik8kJyDTPy
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) July 10, 2017
Sort of a trick question-after all, the only people who are successful in any line of work-even something as sedate as ‘pop star’-in Russia need Putin’s friendship.
“The Agalarovs appear to have a good relationship with Mr. Putin. Shortly before the Miss Universe pageant, Mr. Putin presented Aras Agalarov with the Order of Honor, one of Russia’s highest civilian awards.”
“The beauty competition put Mr. Trump in contact with influential people in Russia, as he explained in a September 2015 interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”
“I called it my weekend in Moscow,” said Mr. Trump, who had announced his candidacy for president a few months earlier. He added: “I was with the top-level people, both oligarchs and generals, and top of the government people. I can’t go further than that, but I will tell you that I met the top people, and the relationship was extraordinary.”
I can’t go any further than that. So he met all these top-level people-both oligarchs and generals. Not a big leap to assume he continued meeting them during the campaign. And this new bombshell just confirms this again.
“After Mr. Trump’s victory in the presidential election last fall, Mr. Goldstone and Emin Agalarov celebrated the results in separate social media posts, with Emin posting a photo of himself, his father, and Mr. Trump on Instagram with the message, “The sky is the limit! Congratulations Mr. President.”
“The Miss Universe pageant has been the subject of particular intrigue for months, given the federal investigation into the Kremlin’s meddling in the presidential election and the question of whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials, a claim that the president and his associates have denied.”
Also-parenthetically-he’s been accused of sexually assaulting models who have worked in his beauty pageants. But I digress.
Anyway, Trump and Russia go way back but 2013 was a major watershed for him:
“For nearly three decades before he became president, Mr. Trump sought business deals in Russia, chasing that goal with little success before bringing the Miss Universe pageant there.”
“In the late 1980s, Mr. Trump and his first wife, Ivana, considered potential sites for a project, but a deal never resulted, Mr. Trump said at the time, because of constraints on private ownership of properties. Nearly a decade later, Mr. Trump announced plans to invest $250 million in two luxury buildings in Moscow, but neither was built.”
“It was in the mid-2000s, as the Trumps aggressively sought to license the family name for international real estate projects, that they began coming to Moscow regularly.”
Trump’s interest in doing business in Russia extends back to the Soviet era. But it took on new importance after his financial ruin-when Mr. Mogul had to be rescued by his family members. After that, Trump wasn’t considered a good risk with American banks and became dependent on Russian money and Russian loans.
Then there is the Russian mobster, Felix Sater, who is a long time family friend.
“In 2006, Donald Jr. and his sister Ivanka stayed at the Hotel National Moscow near the Kremlin, coming and going to meet with potential business partners. Joining them on the trip was Felix Sater, a Russian immigrant and longtime associate of the Trumps. Mr. Sater, who continued to work with the Trump Organization even after it came to light that he had pleaded guilty to a role in a stock manipulation scheme involving Mafia figures and Russia criminals and has served as an American government informant, told The Times this year that the family’s attitude was: “nice, big city, great. Let’s do a deal here.”
“Mr. Sater worked on a plan for a Trump Tower in Moscow as recently as the fall of 2015, but he said that had come to a halt because of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.”
It’s arguable that Trump simply having a business relationship with Sater is a federal crime which might explain why he walked out on an interview with a British journalist in 2013 after Sater’s name came up.
Some more thoughts from Seth Abramson-he’s very good:
1) Pundits are now saying yesterday's news shows the Trump campaign was willing to—and wanted to—collude with Russia, but not that they DID.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) July 10, 2017
We must stop saying "Goldstone set up the meeting." That's the Trump camp line. The *truth* is Putin's close friend Aras Agalarov set it up.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) July 10, 2017
More on that Trump visit to the pageant and how it led to the groundwork to the Trump campaign meeting the Kremlin lawyer last June. It all goes back to the Russian pop star:
“Donald Trump Jr., speaking at a Manhattan real estate conference in 2008, told the audience he had been to Russia a half-dozen times over 18 months. “I really prefer Moscow over all cities in the world,” he said, according to eTurboNews.”
But he acknowledged that the Russian market was challenging, with “an issue of ‘Will I ever see my money back out of that deal or can I actually trust the person I am doing the deal with?’”
“Still, during the Miss Universe weekend, the Trumps continued to lay the groundwork for a deal in Moscow. During that visit, the Agalarovs and Herman Gref — a former Russian economy minister who serves as chief executive of the state-controlled Sberbank PJSC — hosted a dinner for Mr. Trump on the night of the pageant, according to Bloomberg News.”
P”hil Ruffin, Mr. Trump’s partner in the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas, who flew to Moscow for the competition, said he and Mr. Trump had lunch at the Ritz-Carlton with the Agalarovs.”
Mr. Trump went on Twitter to thank the father and son for their hospitality.
“I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW!”
Despite the strained attempts of the Trump people-Reince Priebus is gamely calling it a nothingburger the only thing certain is: this story isn’t going anywhere. It’s only getting bigger.
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