WTF Community

Day 746

Updated 2/4/2019 3:48 PM PST

1/ Trump said he doesn't "have to agree" with his intelligence chiefs on worldwide threats. Trump, agitated after intelligence officials contradicted him several times during congressional testimony last week, said he wants "them to give me their opinion," but not to share them publicly with Congress. Trump later called the intelligence officials naive and suggested they might need to go back to "school." Senior intelligence analysts who prepare Trump's briefs and the briefers themselves say Trump displays "willful ignorance" when presented with analysis, and that the use of visual aids, confining briefings to two or three sentences, and repeating his name and title as frequently as possible all fail to keep his attention. Two intelligence officers say they have been warned to avoid giving Trump intelligence assessments that contradict stances he has taken in public. (CBS News / Time)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

We haven’t heard much about this player at the Trump Tower meeting – it’s interesting that he is now coming into the spotlight.

In September, BuzzFeed, revealed that Aras Agalarov transferred millions into the U.S. in a suspicious manner after the Trump Tower meeting. Then in October, The Guardian uncovered suspicious financial activities by Agalarov just before the Trump Tower meeting.

Now BuzzFeed is exposing more suspect financial transactions surrounding the Trump Tower meeting – these involve shady payments made to Rinat Akhmetshin.

This is a long and surprisingly detailed report – hard to summarize, but here are some highlights:

A Russian-born lobbyist who attended the controversial Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 received a series of suspicious payments totaling half a million dollars before and after the encounter.

Documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News show that Rinat Akhmetshin, a Soviet military officer turned Washington lobbyist, deposited large, round-number amounts of cash in the months preceding and following the meeting, where a Russian lawyer offered senior Trump campaign officials dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The lobbyist also received a large payment that bank investigators deemed suspicious from Denis Katsyv, whose company Prevezon Holdings was accused by the US Justice Department of laundering the proceeds of a $230 million Russian tax fraud.

Side Note: Here’s a recent post outlining the web of connections between Prevezon Holdings and the Trump Tower meeting.

In the months before and after the meeting with the Trump campaign, documents show that Akhmetshin made unexplained cash deposits totaling $40,000, and received a wire transfer of $100,000 directly from Katsyv along with $52,000 from a foundation funded by Katsyv and other wealthy Russians to try to undermine that law. Bankers examining the lobbyist’s accounts flagged these transactions for a variety of reasons, including the inability to explain them, their overseas origin, and a suspicion that they showed Akhmetshin had violated federal lobbying law.

A half-million dollars of payments to that nonprofit, the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation, have also come under scrutiny. Wired by Katsyv and other backers, the payments came two months before the Trump Tower meeting. Investigators at Bank of America, where the foundation held an account, cited the transactions as potential evidence of corruption and bribery in the bid to overturn the sanctions law, and provided them to Treasury, documents show. Mueller is investigating the foundation, Bloomberg reported.

Bankers at Wells Fargo said the transactions raised concerns that Akhmetshin may have violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by failing to register as a foreign lobbyist for the network of clients whose money flowed his way. That accusation has been echoed by the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who in 2017 requested information on Akhmetshin from the Department of Justice, which enforces FARA. Akhmetshin told the Associated Press that the Justice Department had contacted him in April 2017 telling him he should have registered under FARA. …


That article, published late Friday, concludes with this:

Trump’s physical next Friday likely will be overseen by Dr. Sean Conley, a Navy commander who succeeded [Ronny] Jackson as physician to the President.

But now on Monday we have this:

Is Trump really placing Ronny Jackson in charge of his physical and giving him a promotion mere days before the event? If so, this is just jaw-droppingly audacious. And to top it all, Jackson is currently under investigation.

President Donald Trump has tapped his former VA Secretary nominee Ronny Jackson to be promoted to a two-star admiral and named his chief medical adviser, despite an ongoing Pentagon investigation into allegations against Jackson.

Relatedly, Trump’s medical examination is slated for Friday. Jackson performed last year’s and gave the President a glowing report, despite Trump’s well-documented affinity for junk food.

According to a Sunday Washington Post report, the White House is re-upping an old promotion request for Jackson, since Trump has always liked Jackson and thinks he was smeared during the VA secretary confirmation process. Administration officials submitted the request to the Senate on January 15.

Jackson’s nomination went up in flames last April when Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) released a summary of accusations against him, ranging from irresponsible pill distribution to drunkenness on the job.



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