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Russiagate and the Magnitsky Affair, Linked Again

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Natalia Veselnitskaya being at the center of this week's explosive revelations is the latest indication that Russiagate didn't begin last year – but almost a decade ago

By Matt Taibbi
2 days ago

"When I first read the explosive New York Times story about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with "Kremlin-linked lawyer" Natalia Veselnitskaya, I had multiple reactions.

The first was amazement at Junior's sheer stupidity (responding affirmatively to "If you would like to participate in our country's state-sponsored effort to help your father's campaign, please respond 'yes' in writing here" will go down as an unsurpassable moment in unsafe political sex). The second was confusion, and the third was déjà vu.

I never met Veselnitskaya, but just months ago I did cross paths with one of her colleagues. Like Veselnitskaya, this person had been lobbying on behalf of a Russian-directed company called Prevezon to overturn the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 law which sanctions Russia for human rights abuses.

The interview was off the record, so I can't say much about it, except to say that my experience was weirdly similar to the account Trump Jr. offered about his meeting with Veselnitskaya.

I went into the meeting expecting a scoop on another topic, and instead found myself essentially being lobbied about the Magnitsky Act. I came away scratching my head about the Prevezon crew, unsure of whether they represented high-ranking Russian interests, or were instead just a bunch of provincial amateurs trying to get a sanctions regime lifted in order to unfreeze their assets.

According to The Hill, others who ran into Veselnitskaya recently came away wondering the same thing:

"The sources also described their interactions with Veselnitskaya in the same way that Trump Jr. did. They claimed not to know who she worked for or what her motives were.

'Natalia didn't speak a word of English,' said one source. "Don't let anyone tell you this was a sophisticated lobbying effort. It was the least professional campaign I've ever seen. If she's the cream of the Moscow intelligence community then we have nothing to worry about.'"

Though Veselnitskaya seems like a small-timer – and Leonid Bershidsky's excellent background report on her for Bloomberg makes her seem like the equivalent of a third-rate lawyer for the Staten Island Borough president – one never knows with this story. After all, the Trumps themselves aren't exactly sophisticates, and they live in the White House..."

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Fake news and lies

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IMASOCK wrote:Fake news and lies

You are so comprehensively ignorant that it leaves one speechless and agape.

Matt Taibbi lived in Russia for years and published an expatriate newsletter/blog called The eXile That's exactly what Putin's fanboys and thugs said about him, so it's clear that you're now spouting Putin's line.

Good to know where your loyalties lie, you filthy traitor.

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