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PostKilimnik and Veselnitskaya Revisited: Questions for Boris Volodarsky (Istvan Simon, USA, 01/15/19 1:33 pm)
Boris Volodarsky (January 14th) asked me on which document I base my claim that Konstantin Kilimnik is a GRU agent. I in turn would like to ask him on which document he bases his claim that he is not.
Out of personal interest and as an American citizen, I follow the investigation into the Russian interference in the US election of president Trump closely. I think that special counsel Robert Mueller has been doing a remarkably skillful, thorough, systematic investigation of these matters. I believe in Mr. Mueller's integrity and give him high marks for the job he has done so far. The investigation is ongoing, and we know only a small part of what Mueller knows.
Mr. Mueller has kept his cards close to his chest. There have been no leaks that I know of that have come out of his office. As a result, what we do know about his investigation has come from tidbits revealed in public documents that he has filed in United States courts. We do know that he has done a good job because he obtained convictions of Manafort in court, who decided to fight some of his charges and lost, and convictions of many others, like Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, Michael Cohen, Sam Patten, Alex van de Zwaan, Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty to charges Mueller has brought against them. Mr. Mueller has charged Kilimnik with obstruction of justice, and based on expert assessment by the FBI, alleged in a United States court filing that "person A " in the indictment against Manafort, has ties to Russian intelligence agencies. Person A has been identified as Kilimnik in the press connecting the dots with what is known about the case. I believe Mr Mueller and other US experts connected to intelligence who have concurred with the FBI assessment.
When various bits of information in the case come to light, US news organizations interview experts to help the public interpret the significance of these revelations, and put them in a meaningful context. These experts include lawyers and former prosecutors, former US intelligence officers, FBI officers, military officers, former ambassadors to Ukraine and Russia, and so on.
I form my opinions on this case based on all of the above, and much other information, including what Boris Volodarsky writes in these pages. Most importantly, I filter it all through my own critical thinking skills and judgement about what makes sense and what does not.
Now that I have provided Boris with a fairly detailed answer to his question, I hope he will do likewise, and answer mine.
There is much intrigue and interesting information in Boris's posts of January 14 and January13. Nonetheless, from my perspective, much of it seems to concentrate on peripheral issues, which seem unimportant to the central facts of this discussion. For example, he spends a good deal of his post denigrating Bill Browder. Perhaps he brings this up as context for the Magnitsky Act. On the one hand, he supports it as good United States law, but on the other, he calls it a personal vendetta of Browder against the Russian regime for interfering in his Russian business affairs.
Though the information about Browder may be interesting, it is also secondary, because no one mentioned Browder in this context. Whether Browder is an angel or a devil seems completely irrelevant to the current topic. Second, even if Browder's motives are less than pure, the Magnitsky act was enacted not by Browder, but by the US government, (and Canada, the UK, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia as well). It strains credibility that all of these governments would agree to pass such a law, if it was nothing more than a personal vendetta of Browder against Putin involving Browder's profits in Russia.
Boris admitted in his post that the Magnitsky Act was a topic discussed by Natalia Veselnitskaya at the Trump Tower meeting. He had previously contested my contention that it was. Boris added that in the case where Veselnitskaya was charged with obstruction of justice, she was the lawyer for a company fighting a tax fraud / money laundering charge. He termed this case entirely fabricated, which is possible, though I think highly unlikely. But once again, whether the charges against Veselnitskaya's client are true or fabricated, seem secondary to our topic.
The really important questions that Boris failed to address, central to our topic are: 1. Why would Veselnitskaya have a meeting with the Trump campaign in the first place about the Magnitsky Act? 2. Why would the Trump campaign even talk to her, much less send the highest officials connected to the Trump campaign, Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and the campaign manager Paul Manafort to meet with her? If she had no connections to the Kremlin, why would anyone talk to her about the Magnistsky Act? 3. What was her interest in Magnitsky, and on whose behalf did she contact the Trump campaign about it? Trump was a mere presidential candidate at the time. He had no business discussing the Magnitsky act with anyone, a duly enacted United States law, much less discuss it with a Russian national. 4. What was the quid pro quo for discussing the Magnitsky Act with Veselnitskaya? In other words, what was in it for the Trump campaign?
JE comments: Very pointed questions. In particular, why would the Trump campaign talk about the Magnitsky act with anyone?
(I notice that this WAIS discussion has generated a unusually large number of "hits." Great news...but I wonder, who is watching us? Hello there, by the way.)