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The Charge Against Natalia Veselnitskaya Could Lead Back to the Trump Campaign
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=45674"><span class="small">Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker</span></a>   
Friday, 11 January 2019 09:18

Yaffa writes: "On Tuesday, federal prosecutors in New York charged the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya with obstruction of justice, accusing her, essentially, of maintaining a back channel with Russian officials while defending a Russian client in a money-laundering case in New York."

The Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya's ties to the office of Yuri Chaika, Russia's general prosecutor, have been clear for some time. (photo: Evgeny Biyatov/AP)
The Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya's ties to the office of Yuri Chaika, Russia's general prosecutor, have been clear for some time. (photo: Evgeny Biyatov/AP)


The Charge Against Natalia Veselnitskaya Could Lead Back to the Trump Campaign

By Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker

11 January 19

 

n Tuesday, federal prosecutors in New York charged the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya with obstruction of justice, accusing her, essentially, of maintaining a back channel with Russian officials while defending a Russian client in a money-laundering case in New York. This was not a particularly shocking or revelatory turn of events but rather a confirmation of what we’ve known for a long time: that Veselnitskaya blended her work advising an ostensibly private client in with a broader campaign of interest to officials in Moscow, particularly those in the Russian general prosecutor’s office.

Veselnitskaya, of course, is most widely known as the lawyer who met with Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort in Trump Tower, in June, 2016, after a Trump business partner suggested that she could offer documents that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton. But the reason she was in the United States at the time was for hearings in a case launched by the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York against a longtime client of hers, a Russian man named Denis Katsyv.

The details quickly get complicated, but suffice it to say that the investigation against Katsyv was opened in response to a letter filed with prosecutors in New York by Bill Browder, an American-born hedge-fund manager who, in the past decade, has become the chief advocate for sanctions against Russian government officials and other individuals. In 2009, a tax adviser working for Browder, Sergei Magnitsky, testified to Russian investigators that Russian officials had stolen two hundred and thirty million dollars in tax-refund payments. He was arrested and died in pretrial detention, leading Browder to launch a worldwide justice campaign, including lobbying for the passage of U.S. sanctions. In 2012, President Obama signed the Magnitsky Act, which has sanctioned dozens of Russian officials and which became a particular obsession of Vladimir Putin’s.

Another prong of Browder’s efforts was his letter to prosecutors claiming that Katsyv and his investment company, Prevezon, received a portion of the ill-gotten funds and used them to buy millions of dollars’ worth of Manhattan real estate. As I wrote in a piece for this magazine last August, “The Prevezon investigation was of particular interest to those back in Moscow who resented the Magnitsky Act,” which meant that Veselnitskaya, an upward-striving lawyer, found herself with an outsized degree of access in Moscow. “I get the feeling Natalia is a very effective provincial-court operator,” a person close to the Prevezon defense team told me last year. “She’s not that important—but, for a while, the case she was fighting was.”

The indictment unsealed on Tuesday relates to Veselnitskaya’s work on the Prevezon case. In short, the U.S. Attorney’s office alleges that a document that was ostensibly prepared by the office of Russia’s general prosecutor and sent to its counterparts in the U.S. Department of Justice was in fact drafted, or at least edited, by Veselnitskaya herself, who then went on to cite the document as independent proof of her version of events. In this manner, the U.S. Attorney’s office alleges, “Veselnitskaya obstructed the civil proceeding in the Prevezon action then pending in this District.”

In fact, Veselnitskaya’s ties to the office of Yuri Chaika, Russia’s general prosecutor, have been clear for some time. I spoke to Veselnitskaya at length in Moscow, and she tried to downplay her relationship with Chaika and other state prosecutors. But the evidence suggests otherwise. The Times has reported that a memo on Browder and the Magnitsky case that Veselnitskaya brought to Trump Tower resembled—and in some places copied—one distributed by Chaika’s office to a visiting U.S. congressional delegation. For my article, I spoke with someone close to the Prevezon defense team who saw Veselnitskaya on the phone with Chaika a number of times.

On Tuesday, I reached someone who had worked with Veselnitskaya on the Prevezon defense; this person told me that, from the beginning, “It was pretty evident from reading the M.L.A.T.s”—the Russian prosecutors’ documents—“that this was Natalia’s work.” The argumentation was the same, with the alleged evidence closely mirroring what Veselnitskaya was saying in New York. “It wasn’t hard to recognize the origins of the text; it wasn’t particularly concealed,” the former member of the defense team said. Though, the source added, “It may not have been a story of nefariousness but rather sheer incompetence within Chaika’s office. Russia can pull off schemes requiring great sophistication—and it can also be such a ham-fisted, nobody-is-doing-their-jobs sort of place.”

What ultimately is the point of this indictment? Veselnitskaya is unlikely ever to return to the United States. This means that U.S. prosecutors are probably less interested in this particular, narrow matter than in what filing charges allows them to do going forward. “If the government wants on record that Natalia is a Russian government agent, this indictment serves this purpose,” the former member of the Prevezon defense team told me. That is to say, if and when charges are filed in relation to the Trump Tower meeting, prosecutors now have a building block on which to argue that, in her actions in the United States, Veselnitskaya did not represent merely herself and her client but the interests of Russian officials. That should worry Donald Trump, Jr., and Jared Kushner, who attended the meeting with Veselnitskaya, and, in turn, the President himself.

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+1 # Robbee 2019-01-11 11:50
The Charge Against Natalia Veselnitskaya Could Lead Back to the Trump Campaign, 11 January 19

- oh no! mueller really did it? mueller opened comrade's box of poison and pestilence?

now we'll have to read comrade's putinesque comments forever?

beware? red herring time, he we come?

Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-08 14:25:
if Mueller is interested in fraudulent document submitted to a US court, why not look at the FISA application and 3 renewals that were based on the Steele Dossier.

- comrade? if you have evidence that contradicts the Steele Dossier, why don't you just say so? and what?

and if you have evidence that Manafort did not commit bank fraud, why don't you just say so? and what?

and if you have evidence that Veselnitskaya DID NOT secretly scheme with a senior Russian prosecutor to provide false information to US law enforcement, why don't you just say so? and what?

you wouldn't be trying to duck putin's accountability, would you, comrade?

cherchez putin?
 
 
-3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-11 15:29
Robbee --

1. the evidence against the Steele dossier is the people who were responsible for writing it. They were a combination of covert operations spooks from the CIA, MI6, FBI, DOJ, and Fusion GPS. All was paid for by the CIA, FBI, and Hillary campaign. It was from the start a smear campaign against Trump. Steele has been sued by several people named in the dossier. In court, he has said under oath that there is no proof for anything in the document and that it was not intended to be true.

2. I did say Manafort did not commit bank fraud. This is a trumped up federal prosecutor crime that could be pinned on everyone, even you. If you neglected to cross a "t" on a loan application, then you committed bank fraud. 99,9% of times, no one bothers about such things. Mueller wanted to destroy Manafort in order to make him talk. That's what went on, not bank fraud.

3. Veselnitskaya DID NOT conspire with a senior Russian prosecutor to provide false or any information to US law enforcement.


OK so now are you convinced? I thought not. You are a stone, my friend.
 
 
0 # johnescher 2019-01-12 09:44
I would like to see how you would fare in a court of law.
 
 
+2 # Robbee 2019-01-12 18:59
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
Robbee --

1. Steele has been sued by several people named in the dossier. In court, he has said under oath that there is no proof for anything in the document and that it was not intended to be true.

2. bank fraud is a trumped up federal prosecutor crime that could be pinned on everyone, even you. If you neglected to cross a "t" on a loan application, then you committed bank fraud.

3. Veselnitskaya DID NOT conspire with a senior Russian prosecutor to provide false or any information to US law enforcement.

OK so now are you convinced? I thought not. You are a stone, my friend.


1. link, please! your comments are often uninformed!

2. i spent the better part of this century litigating FDCPA so-called "rights" regarding my personal credit card debt with major cards at ALL levels of state and federal court - one thing never claimed by any creditor is that i lied or committed fraud - it is high time you elites and frauds met some of us 99%!

3. DID TOO!

moreover, i am not putin's friend and resent your implication!
 
 
0 # Anne Frank 2019-01-11 14:05
Yaffa somehow does not mention Browder's millions of dollars of tax evasion, but, then, like the indictment of Velnitskaya, which prosecutors know they never will have to produce evidence for, the whole point is to whip the masses into a frenzy of hate and fear so our money keeps flowing to war profiteers and the deep state.
 
 
-1 # Salus Populi 2019-01-11 16:07
Like the indictment of the thirteen Russians last spring, this one seems primarily a publicity generator, with, as I believe Lillian Hellman once offered, "there's no there, there."

What in any other context would have clearly been labeled as click-bait in that instance became, first, a scheme to help Trump, and when it was shown that the posts were all over the political and non-political map, this was adjusted to a claim that the authors were trying to confuse the issues, rather than spreading their net as widely as they could to reach as many potential clickers as they could -- the very definition of click-bait. In that indictment, too, Mueller assumed he would never have to prove his allegations in court -- an assumption that, when the indicted businessmen stated that they intended to fight the charges in a U.S. court, led to the deep-sixing of the entire episode by the mainscream media.
 
 
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-12 08:50
The worst thing about Browder is that he renounced his US citizenship in order to avoid paying taxes to the US government. And yet, he is able to use the US court system and congress to carry out his vendetta against Russia and Putin, particularly. He's not an American. Why would anyone in Congress even give him the time of day.

Let's face it, Browder is an international criminal and a former Russian Oligarch. Anything that comes from his should be discredited immediately.
 
 
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-12 08:57
"“If the government wants on record that Natalia is a Russian government agent, this indictment serves this purpose,” the former member of the Prevezon defense team told me. "


This article concludes in the right place. All Mueller wants is to establish that there was someone "from the Russian government" in the room with Trump Jr, Manafort, and Kushner -- Trump's campaign.

Mueller is following a RICO-style investigation which tries to assert that an organized crime syndicate exists even on the flimsiest connections between people.

If Trump Jr. was in the same room with someone with tenuous connections to the Russian government, then Mueller can claim a connection between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. That's been the point since this meeting was framed up by MI6, FBI, CIA, and Fusion GPS. Why are so few people asking about all the Fusion GPS people in the room. Veselnitskaya also had rather close connections with Glen Simpson, head of Fusion GPS.


So Trump Jr was in the same room with Veselnitskaya for about 20 minutes. She does not speak English. He does not speak Russian. What connection could there have been? There was a translator. But he was provided by Fusion GPS. So the connection between Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya was Fusion GPS.


Stories like this make idiots out of people. They are asked to believe the surface story and not think about all of the mitigating details. The truth is NOTHING HAPPENED. It was a frame up.
 
 
+1 # Robbee 2019-01-12 19:30
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-12 08:57:
So Trump Jr was in the same room with Veselnitskaya ... The truth is NOTHING HAPPENED. It was a frame up.

- evidently nothing that junior expected or wanted to happen?

which begs the question - why did junior and manafort meet anyone? ever?

nothing to do? how do we kill some time?
 
 
-4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-12 09:02
Here is from the NYT story:


""Fabricating evidence — submitting false and deceptive declarations to a federal judge — in an attempt to affect the outcome of pending litigation, not only undermines the integrity of the judicial process, but it threatens the ability of our courts to ensure that justice is done," Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Bernman said in the indictment."


Gee!!! Maybe this jerkwad will now go after all the FBI and DOJ officials who fabricated and signed the FISA warrant application against Carter Page and the Trump campaign. Real and serious threats to the court and to justice were done there. I will hold my breath until this prosecutor does and the NYT reports it.