Mueller Questions Russian Oligarch About Cohen Payments

I've been waiting for Rudy Giulani and Donald Trump's lawyer troubles to recede from the headlines. I can't think of two people I dislike more.

Today, CNN reports Mueller's team questioned Russian Oligarch Viktor Vekselberg who heads an asset management company called the Renova Group. Vekselberg is reportedly close to Vladimir Putin and made payments to Michael Cohen after the election. According to Stormy Daniels lawyer, $500,000 in payments from a group controlled by Vekselberg were deposited into Cohen's account for his "shell business", Essential Consultants -- the same account he set up to pay Stormy Daniels, between January and August, 2017. [More...]

....[L]ast month the Trump administration placed him on a list of sanctioned Russians for activities including election interference. The purpose of the payments, which predate the sanctions, and the nature of the business relationship between Vekselberg and Cohen is unclear.

...The questions asked of Vekselberg suggest that Mueller investigators have been examining some of Cohen's business relationships as part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Vekselberg is one of two Russian oligarchs the FBI stopped earlier this year after their private jets landed in New York-area airports as part of Mueller's investigation.

Investigators also asked Vekselberg about donations the head of his US affiliate made to Trump's inaugural fund and campaign funds, sources said... FBI agents asked Vekselberg about payments his company's American affiliate, Columbus Nova, made to Cohen, according to one source. The Russian was questioned as well about $300,000 in political donations by Andrew Intrater, Vekselberg's American cousin who is the head of Columbus Nova, sources said.

I think the multiple probes into Cohen and Paul Manafort, and their Ukranian, Russian and Kazakhstan oligarch connections and how the oligarchs and their proxy people bought into Trump. Org. properties, using banks in Cypress, Russia and the UK are the more interesting part of the ongoing story. Trump Soho is just part of the story.

No matter where you look, Felix Sater and Bayrock are in the middle. Michael Cohen has been friends with Sater since childhood. According to the New York Times, Cohen and Sater were the emissaries bringing a proposal to Trump to lessen sanctions against Russia.

There's also the Republican convention brouhaha where there was a proposal to lessen support for the Ukranian separatists in the Republican platform. [More...]

A week before Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia.

Mr. Flynn is gone, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Mueller's going one way (Russian interference in the election and obstruction of justice and lies), and the U.S. Attorneys in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York are going in another direction. (money laundering). Giuliani is just a sideshow.

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    Also this could be about (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 08, 2018 at 05:44:56 PM EST
    Cohen's role in finance for the RNC.  And could explain why certain Republicans have been so willing to do whatever it takes to stop the investigation.

    No doubt. (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 08, 2018 at 06:40:32 PM EST
    Seriously Devin Nunes must have known he was getting campaign money from Russia from the way he acts. Paul Ryan is another one. McConnell too. There are going to be a lot of people in the GOP that benefited from Kremlin money. We can guess at a few of them already.

    I said when Trump took office (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by ruffian on Sat May 12, 2018 at 10:28:33 AM EST
    that I had no idea how it would end but it was going to be spectacular. I guess I should have known porn stars, Russians, and mob lawyers would be involved.

    Bill Maher's (none / 0) (#37)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 12, 2018 at 12:42:36 PM EST
    "Married to the Mob" shows, essentially, that among the "best people" influencing the Trump Administration is Mario Puzo.

    If it turns out to be that bad (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 08, 2018 at 09:22:04 PM EST
    I got nuthin

    Avenatti says (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 08, 2018 at 10:17:59 PM EST
    The 4 mill is not even the tip of the iceberg.  That there was lots and lots of money both going into and coming out if his little LLC he supposedly started to pay Stormy.

    The conversation with Lawerence was really interesting.  They said even more interesting than where the money came from is where it went.  And the RNC looks like one of the places it went.

    It starts to be clear why they were more worried about this than Mueller.


    He (none / 0) (#17)
    by FlJoe on Thu May 10, 2018 at 06:45:09 PM EST
    strikes again
    Avenatti obtains Michael Cohen's EMAILS and posts one showing how he still identified as Trump's lawyer in April - despite Giuliani saying he no longer represented the President

    Avenatti (none / 0) (#18)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 10, 2018 at 07:12:10 PM EST
    must have a source at SDNY or the NY FBI office that is giving him all this stuff.

    I don't want leaks (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 11, 2018 at 08:17:43 AM EST
    So I hope not. I don't want anything going on that places prosecution at risk.

    I hope that Mr. Avenatti gained access to these documents simply because he's Ms. Clifford's attorney and he can access them for that reason.


    Apparently (none / 0) (#22)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri May 11, 2018 at 08:22:05 AM EST
    Avenatti got Stormy's former lawyer to start choking up all this stuff. Man, did he, Trump and Cohen have a ring going or what? Trump gets someone in trouble and tells them to talk to is it Davidson? And then Davidson and Cohen cook up a deal.

    I read that the emails are probably (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 11, 2018 at 09:58:15 AM EST
    Part of her case file that Davidson sent to Avenatti. Avenatti says he suspects there are other documents that were supposed to belong to her and be in her case file that didn't make it to him. He has requested any of those documents that were taken in the Cohen raid be shared with him. Nothing official on that yet.

    Are lawyers really this sloppy? Did Davidson not know how shady Cohen is, and isn't involved in any coverup?

    It is hard for me to believe that two attorneys this sloppy and shady exist and found each other and boy were they working it.

    Saul is supposed to be fiction


    Sloppy because they have done it (none / 0) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 11, 2018 at 10:39:48 AM EST
    For decades and were to stupid to understand that Trumps elevation to the highest office in the land was not a blessing.

    It was a curse you fcking morons.

    Watching you be undone will be a civics lesson for a generation.

    Fu@k you.  And the tanning bed horse you rode in on.


    Just one more thing (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 11, 2018 at 10:42:59 AM EST
    When Mueller announces the indictments some of them will be for sitting members of congress.

    BTW (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 11, 2018 at 10:43:32 AM EST
    I repeat

    Mueller WILL indict Trump.


    I can't decide if he will or won't (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 11, 2018 at 11:42:52 AM EST
    Many who have known him for years originally said he would observe not indicting a sitting President. But it is starting to look like real deal treason. Sadly my President is such an idiot while simultaneously being an egomaniac, he wouldn't even know if he was committing such an act. Nor would he really care. He is obviously a fair weather American :)

    IMO (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 11, 2018 at 11:52:27 AM EST
    Trumps crimes will be so flagrant and so many he will do it.

    Just a feeling


    It is starting to look that way (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 11, 2018 at 01:03:08 PM EST
    I appreciate that the Mueller investigation doesn't leak. The things the press have found on their own lately making it hard to not extrapolate that the worst happened.

    And turns out some US politicians have been actively solicited by Russian agents and operatives since 2009.

    We were in Alabama during the Jade Helm craziness. That was bizarre because some right wingers at Ft Rucker were all upset about Obama's secret coup while others told them they couldn't be serious. Turns out the Jade Helm craziness was Russia's first US internet active measures operation. And proves to me a lot of citizens of the United States are just phucking stupid.


    Agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 11, 2018 at 03:42:25 PM EST
    Mueller, I believe, has found that, in large measure, the Republican Congress and high roller donors are involved, through various cut-outs, such as national organizations that deal with rifles, and Republican senator's campaigns, and donations to the Inaugural Committee.  

    Just sending a report to the Republican-controlled Congress will not serve the American people. An indictment of Trump will be needed, and justifies obviating the DOJ opinion.


    I go back and forth on this (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri May 11, 2018 at 01:17:45 PM EST
    however I think I'm going to agree with Howdy. The system under Trump has no laws that they are going to obey. So it is going to take something as serious as an indictment to shake up the system and wake the GOP from their stupor.

    I think he will too (none / 0) (#35)
    by ruffian on Sat May 12, 2018 at 10:30:56 AM EST
    And then let the legal process and courts deal with it. It the
    Is is not the perfect test case to see how it goes, there will never be one. I can see him thinking it is time to rest the system. Assuming of course he has the goods.

    *If this is not the perfect test case (none / 0) (#36)
    by ruffian on Sat May 12, 2018 at 10:31:57 AM EST
    autocorrect woes.

    I think that (none / 0) (#38)
    by Repack Rider on Sun May 13, 2018 at 03:06:51 AM EST
    ... after the investigation is over and Mueller finishes his report, he will never again vote for a Republican.

    They are deep in treason territory.


    When you pay (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Repack Rider on Wed May 09, 2018 at 02:09:05 PM EST
    ... for "consulting," or "insight," you are claiming that you are paying for valuable information.

    Hundreds of thousands of dollars of "research" or "information" is a load of documents. All Mueller has to do is ask each of these entities to show him the report they got to justify all that expensive consulting.

    This (none / 0) (#12)
    by FlJoe on Wed May 09, 2018 at 02:43:37 PM EST
    is precious
    Michael Cohen reached out to pharmaceutical company Novartis in early 2017 and promised the company help in gaining access to President Donald Trump and his administration, STAT News reported Wednesday, citing a Novartis employee.

    The revelation follows Novartis' acknowledgement on Wednesday that the company signed a $1.2 million contract with Cohen in early 2017 to advise the company on how best to navigate health care issues with the new administration. The company claimed that after one meeting with Cohen, they concluded that he "would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated." The company was not able to leave its contract, so it continued to pay Cohen without engaging with him.

     Should have hired  Dr. Bornstein, Dr. Ronnie Jackson may also be available soon.

    Their response yesterday (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 09, 2018 at 04:47:59 PM EST
    Was the best.  ATT and others dodged and weaved and equivocated but they did not.

    It was basically "any dealings with this guy was by our FORMER CEO.  Talk to him"


    Time to raid the Clintons personal lawyers office? (1.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Redbrow on Thu May 10, 2018 at 03:05:11 PM EST
    Renova Group donated up to $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation!


    Heh - you're funny (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Yman on Thu May 10, 2018 at 09:46:07 PM EST
    You DO realize that you need evidence of a crime and a warrant to perform a search/seizure right?

    All you have is a laughable attempt at a false equivalency.


    No, he (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Zorba on Fri May 11, 2018 at 12:22:04 PM EST
    and a lot of other Trump supporters don't, in fact, realize this.
    They apparently think that, because a whole lot of Trumpsters keep chanting "Lock her up!  Lock her up!" that's enough to demand totally ignoring the Bill of Rights.
    I'd point and laugh at all of these people, except that I am getting afraid that, little by little, our rights are getting eroded.

    Baa waa waa (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 10, 2018 at 10:16:10 PM EST
    because donating to an American charity is just like giving money to a Russian mobster.

    You conservatives aren't too bright are you?


    Renovo group directly, not laundered (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by ruffian on Sat May 12, 2018 at 10:13:49 AM EST
    through his relative's 'investment company' and a lawyer's shell company. Sounds like an above board donation to me. People would have been able to see Clinton's actions right out in the open and judge if there was influence there. Like it or not, that is how the SCOTUS ruled this is supposed to work.

    Works for me... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Thu May 10, 2018 at 03:25:54 PM EST
    if Congress won't get the monied pollution out of politics, maybe the lower courts will succeed a little at exposing the most egregious examples.

    Rudy (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 08, 2018 at 05:41:43 PM EST
    Doesn't even qualify as a side show.

    If it's shown the Russians were involved in helping keep the Stormy thing quiet, that's always were I thought the money came from, Stormy suddenly looks like a much bigger and more interesting story.

    This is interesting (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 08, 2018 at 08:52:34 PM EST
    Mueller tried to delay this hearing but the judge said no.  It will happen tomorrow

    Lawyers for the company accused of funding Russia's election interference trolls are demanding that special counsel Robert Mueller turn over reams of information, including the identities of informants, details of any electronic surveillance, and a list of "each and every instance" since 1945 in which the U.S. "engaged in operations to interfere with elections and political processes in any foreign country."

    The ambitious demand for legal discovery surfaced Friday in Mueller's criminal case against 13 individuals and three Russian companies linked to the Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg troll farm that used fake accounts to organize demonstrations on U.S. soil and flood American social media with alt-right memes during the 2016 election. One of those defendants is Concord Management and Consulting, a Russian firm run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close Kremlin ally known as "Putin's Chef," who is also named individually as a defendant in the case.

    Attorneys at the law firm Reed Smith are representing Concord. Though the Washington, D.C.-based lawyers have formally filed an appearance in the case, the government says they've refused to accept service of the court summons, and attempts to serve the Russian defendants through other means--like dropping off the summons with Russia's prosecutor general in Moscow--have failed. Mueller's team is seeking a postponement of a May 9th arraignment date

    My God, midnight approaches (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 08, 2018 at 09:57:05 PM EST
    And the news is still red hot, people showing up to sit on panels. It might as well be 7:00 am. I've not seen anything like this since 9/11 or shock and awe.

    Interesting (none / 0) (#8)
    by FlJoe on Wed May 09, 2018 at 10:56:32 AM EST
    take on the Broidy angle
    Let me offer an alternative explanation of the affair and the payoff. It is still just a hypothesis, but, I would argue, it fits more comfortably with what we know about the various players than the reported version of events: Donald Trump, not Elliott Broidy, had an affair with Shera Bechard. Bechard hired Keith Davidson, who had negotiated both Playboy playmate Karen McDougal's deal with the National Enquirer and Stormy Daniels's NDA with Trump. Davidson called Cohen, and the two of them negotiated a $1.6 million payment to Bechard.
    Although I wonder if Broidy himself actually paid all the money as the payments came apparently through the same LLC in question,
    According to this newly revealed NDA, Dennison agreed to pay Peterson $1.6 million, in exchange for Peterson's promise not to reveal the affair or her claim that Dennison had impregnated her. This NDA, like the Trump-Daniels document, was negotiated by attorneys Keith Davidson, on behalf of Peterson, and Michael Cohen, on behalf of Dennison. Payments were also delivered through Essential Consultants LLC, the same LLC created by Cohen to facilitate payments in the Stormy Daniels deal.
     So far we have seen no evidence that Broidy provided funds for this Political/Real Estate/Hush Money "consulting" business that Cohen was running although I am guessing that his name will show up eventually as chunking some money into this apparent slush fund.

    The sh!t is about to come (none / 0) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 09, 2018 at 11:17:12 AM EST
    So hard the Trumpers will need those stupid hats.

    You have no idea how hard I cling (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 10, 2018 at 01:10:34 PM EST
    To Avenatti's declaration that he under promises and over delivers. I would say that it resembles lust!

    That theory (none / 0) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 09, 2018 at 02:24:47 PM EST
    has been kicking around the internet since Avenatti said something about that situation. However it does make sense that Tump would be the one that was making the payoff. If you look at a picture of her she looks just like Stormy just like Ivanka etc. etc.