With Donald Trump ectatic about being able to lick Emmanuel Macron’s boots in Paris (after vociferously supporting Trumpite Marine LePen, who lost the runoff to Macron), Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has instructed General Alexander Bortnikov (Алекса́ндр Васи́льевич Бо́ртников), his Federal Security Service Director, to grab Rinat Akhmetshin (Ринат Ахметшин) from Washington, where he is stationed, and take him directly to the Moermansk gulag in remote northeastern Siberia, according to associate solitary reporter Foma Khoroshonsky, who covers Russia and Eastern Europe for us.
There were at least six people in the room when Donald Trump Jr. tried to extract some promised dirt on Hillary Clinton when he met in Trump Tower on June 9, 2016 with Kremlin insider Natalia Veselnitskaya (Наталья Владимировна Весельницка). Thanks to our rival, Associated Press, we now know that Rinat Akhmetshin (Ринат Ахметшин), a Russian lobbyist and former spy, was in the room as well. Akhmetshin somehow acquired American citizenship; he is stationed in Washington and works for Veselnitskaya. The others in the room, in addition to Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin, included Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is now running most of the federal government; campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was later forced to leave the Trump campaign because of his ties to a corrupt Ukrainian politician who is part of Putin’s orbit; publicist Rob Goldstone, a former British tabloid hack who helped Trump Sr. in his Miss Universe competition in Moscow; and Azerbaijani entertainer Emin Agalarov, the son of Azerbaijani-Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov, who, in partnership with Trump Sr., hosted the Miss Universse competition at the senior Agalarov’s Crocus City Hall in Moscow. Putin awarded the senior Agalarov the Russian Order of Honor three years before Trump lost the election to Hillary Clinton.
Akhmetshin won’t be seen in public for many years. Though he is a naturalized American citizen, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is unlikely to seek his release because of the former Exxon Mobil CEO’s close personal friendship with Putin.
In yesterday’s Politico, Edward Price, a former CIA security specialist and former adviser to President Obama, wondered aloud why Kushner still has a top-level security clearance. Price says that if he or any of his CIA colleagues had had any of the contacts with Russians which Kushner has had (and on which he has been duplicitous in his explanations), they would have been escorted out of CIA headquarters at Langley right
away — but the favored son-in-law still holds sway in the loyalty-obsessed Trump Administration.
According to associate solitary reporter Melissa Smith, who covers Congress for us, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is so desperate to pass McConnellCare that he has a Plan D, namely, to call Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and beg him and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin to work out a compromise to modify the Affordable Care Act to save at least a portion of the Medicaid benefits which Sen. Rand Paul (TP-Kentucky) and Sen. Mike Lee (TP-Utah) are looking forward to cutting.
When McConnell crosses the aisle, Smith tells us, all hell will break loose in the Senate Republican Conference.