Russian lawyer and Trump Tower meeting-attender Natalia Veselnitskaya’s associate went down in a deadly helicopter crash near Moscow.
Veselnistkaya met with anti-Trump Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson for dinner the night before her famous 2016 Trump Tower meeting, and the night after her famous Trump Tower meeting.
A Russian deputy attorney general, who is thought to have directed Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya in her efforts abroad on behalf of Russia’s government, reportedly died Wednesday night in a helicopter crash.
The Daily Beast reported that Saak Albertovich Karapetyan was aboard an unauthorized helicopter flight, which crashed near the village of Vonyshevo, outside of Moscow.
Karapetyan was reportedly behind Veselnitskaya’s global efforts to lobby lawmakers to overturn anti-corruption acts such as the U.S. Magnitsky Act, which passed in 2012.
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Natalia Veselnitskaya was an integral part of the set-up operation on Don Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner in Trump Tower in the summer of 2016.
The Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya who set up Don Trump Jr. for a meeting in Trump Tower as part of a Fusion GPS plot was operating out of the Washington offices of Cozen O’Connor, a law firm run by an anti-Trump former Obama administration official whose super PAC donated to Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush in the 2016 presidential election.
Veselnitskaya’s work from the Cozen O’Connor office provides more evidence of a Democrat and establishment Republican effort to set up the Trump campaign for a future Russian collusion case. Veselnitskaya was allowed into the United States by the Obama Department of Justice while the former Obama official who runs Cozen O’Connor publicly warned then-candidate Trump that if he became president he would be investigated by the DOJ for contacts with foreign leaders. Veselnitskaya reportedly had dinner meetings with Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson the day before she met in Trump Tower and also the day after she went inside Trump Tower.
Big League Politics has confirmed that a Cozen O’Connor partner who lives in the same apartment building as James Comey’s friend Daniel Richman — who leaked classified information to the press on Comey’s behalf — spoke with Richman during the period that Comey and the Fusion GPS team were trying to obtain FISA warrants on Trump Tower.
Let’s break down the facts of an Obama administration official’s involvement in the Trump Tower plot:
Russian and U.S. citizen Rinat Akhmetshin, a Soviet military veteran, was present at Veselnitskaya’s meeting with Don Jr. in Trump Tower after leading a lobbying push supposedly to repeal the Magnitsky Act. Akhmestshin is believed by insiders to be linked to Russian government intelligence, a fact that the Washington Post seized on when reporting that he met with Don Jr. and Jared Kushner in Trump Tower. A nonprofit group focused on promoting Akhmetshin and Veselnitskaya’s cause to lawmakers actually hired Cozen O’Connor, which the law firm confirms.
The Washington Post reported (emphasis added):
“In the spring of 2016, as the presidential race was heating up, Akhmetshin and lobbyists he hired sought meetings on Capitol Hill to make their case against the sanctions law. Akhmetshin hired former Democratic congressman Ron Dellums, along with a team of lobbyists from the law firm of Cozen O’Connor.
Steve Pruitt, a business colleague speaking on Dellums’s behalf, said his involvement was brief and ended when he determined that Congress was unlikely to change the law.
In June, after visiting Trump Tower in New York, Veselnitskaya came to Washington to lend a hand in the lobbying effort.
She attended a meeting of the team at the downtown offices of Cozen O’Connor, where she spoke at length in Russian about the issues but confused many in the room, who had not been told previously about her involvement, according to several participants.”
Washington Post passage ends
Cozen O’Connor managing partner Howard Schweitzer is listed here on a DOJ form from an investigation into the breaking of lobbying laws by Russians trying to repeal the Magnitsky Act — which was just a front to get Russians in the room with Don Jr. We know now that Natalia Veselnitskaya was actually operating out of the Cozen O’Connor offices.
Schweitzer worked as general counsel for the Export-Import Bank under George W. Bush and was chief operating officer of the TARP bailout program under both Bush and Obama from 2008-2009.
“In October 2008, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson appointed Howard as the first COO of TARP. In this position, Howard led program execution and built the TARP infrastructure. He served as a key point person regarding the financial crisis through the presidential transition and continued to serve as TARP COO under Secretary Timothy Geithner until August 2009,” reads Schweitzer’s Cozen O’Connor bio.
“He served as chief operating officer of the TARP in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations,” reads Schweitzer’s bio for a Politico piece he wrote in August 2016 headlined “7 Reasons Why Trump Would Hate Being President.”
Schweitzer’s virulently anti-Trump piece for Politico tries to make the case that Trump was “sabotaging his own bid for the White House.” Schweitzer said that if Trump became president then “He’ll be investigated to death” by Congress and the Justice Department for his business dealings and “relationships with foreign leaders.”
The narrative was being set.
The Philadelphia-based Cozen O’Connor law firm also has a political action committee that donated to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, in addition to Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Martin O’Malley. In the 2018 election cycle, the Cozen O’Connor PAC donated more money to Hillary Clinton’s dormant campaign.
Here is Veselnitskaya seated behind Obama ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul at a June 2016 congressional hearing focused on Russia.
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