Given the target rich environment that the mainstream media assured the American people was the Trump campaign, you’d think some evidence, any evidence would surface on the idea of “collusion” with Russia if there was any. So far, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has found zip, nada, nothing to indicate that there was any inappropriate contact there.
(There was quite a bit of contact between people in the FBI, like Andrew McCabe, and foreign agents in making up a dossier that has been debunked, but that is not supposed to matter.)
That being the case, according to the Washington Post via ABC News, the special prosecutor is looking at where Russian money actually did flow into the 2016 election: Inauguration activities.
It is a general truth among those who use their money to buy influence in governments of all sorts (theirs and everyone else’s) that it’s a good idea to show up where the very people you want to influence are. In the case of a bunch of Russian billionaires, that was the parties and events surrounding the inauguration. So, a handful paid some sponsorship fees and showed up.
According to a source with knowledge of the congressional investigations, at least one oligarch was ushered into Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol for the traditional Inaugural Day luncheon, hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies – an event typically out of reach to donors and even most rank-and-file members of Congress.
“It’s incredibly unusual,” said Stephen Kerrigan, who planned the 2009 and 2013 Obama inaugural festivities and said every guest was scrutinized for foreign ties. “Particularly if they were going to be within arm’s reach of the President, they went through an intensive vetting process.”
Names on the guest lists of the Candlelight Dinner included Victor Vekselberg, the billionaire head of the global conglomerate Renova Group, who was later sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury “for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy,” and his American cousin Andrew Intrater. Late last year, Vekselberg was stopped at a New York airport by federal agents working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and questioned, according to the New York Times. The Times also reported that Intrater was separately interviewed by the special counsel.
Vekselberg and Intrater were seated at the dinner next to Michael Cohen and his family, according to a source familiar with the arrangements. Intrater’s firm, Columbus Nova, later signed Cohen to a $1 million consulting contract. Emails to Renova Group went unanswered.
It looks like with the help of some mainstream media outlets, there is an effort to tie private Russian money to President Trump via innuendo.
This is how desperate some of the people in the swamp are to get something, anything to stick to Donald Trump. Russian billionaires attending the inauguration? They’re going to have to do better than that.