On Monday I wrote Trump’s Inner Circle Met With No Ordinary Russian Lawyer which can still be used as a primer on this case. More details have come out since, and as I suspected the Russian lawyer was accompanied by at least one Russian intelligence officer. I had assumed it would have been the translator, but I made that determination when I thought there were only two guests invited into the Trump Tower boardroom. It’s now clear that a “former” GRU officer named Rinat Akhmetshin was in attendance, and there may have been others.
It’s going to take me some time to distill all of this into a succinct blog-length post and maybe that will have to wait for the weekend. In the meantime, I have a link to some essential reading. It’s a letter that Sen. Chuck Grassley wrote in April to John Kelly, the Secretary of Homeland Security, asking for information about Mr. Akhmetshin. Grassley identifies him as an admitted former “Soviet counterintelligence officer” who has been accused of lobbying on behalf of the Kremlin without registering as an agent of a foreign power.
If you continue on down the pages in that link, you’ll come to a letter written to Heather H. Hunt, who was/is the chief of the Justice Department’s Foreign Agent Registration Unit at the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of DOJ’s National Security Division. The author of this letter is a lawyer for Hermitage Capital Management, the Russian-focused hedge fund that had its subsidiaries stolen by Russian mobsters as part of the biggest tax heist in Russian history. That heist was the focus of my piece on Monday (cited above).