If Manafort is turning omTrump, Donald may be in dee doo doo,  Seath Abramson has taken what is already known and woven it together in astory that readmlike TRUMPGATE.  The story implicates
Sessions, Manafort, Kushner  directly in selling US foreign policy to Russia for 0.5% of Russian oil giant Rosneft.

1) Per @NYMag, Paul Manafort took over the Trump campaign on April 16, just 72 hours before Trump mathematically eliminated his competition.

2) The timing was intentional: Manafort, hired in March, was slated to become the campaign’s key player as soon as Trump became the nominee.

3) On April 21, 48 hours after clinching, Trump announced the first major foreign policy address of his life. It was scheduled for April 27.

4) The speech, arranged by Jared Kushner in mid-March, was to be hosted by the Center for the National Interest, a conservative think tank.

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Note that the Center for the National Interest will be abbreviated “CNI” often in this thread.

5) The Center is _widely_ known to have “ties to the Russian regime of President Vladimir Putin,” per Politico. 

6) The speech was slated to be at the National Press Club, an august venue with a _long_ history of staging secure events with large crowds.

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7) Less than 24 hours before the speech, it was cancelled. The Trump campaign (i.e., Manafort) declared the venue was too small and unsafe.

8) So Manafort moved the event to the Mayflower Hotel: a smaller, less secure site. The decision confirmed the campaign’s excuses were lies.

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9) The two things the Mayflower had that the NPC didn’t were (a) 581 private rooms for private meetings, and (b) restricted, VIP-only areas.

10) The latter was important because Manafort wanted Trump to hold an intimate, 24-person cocktail hour in the Mayflower’s VIP Senate Room.

11) Among the 24 at the event: Trump, CNI event coordinator Heilbrunn, Jeff Sessions, Kushner, Lewandowski, Manafort, and four ambassadors.

12) Another VIP at the event was Iran-Contra figure Bud McFarlane, one of America’s chief advocates for a bargain with Russia on oil access.

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13) The four ambassadors were the only four ambassadors in the world (out of 195 total) that the Putin-linked CNI had invited to the event.

14) The _biggest oil deal in Russia’s history_ occurred in December of 2016. It involved the coordination of entities from three countries.

15) Individuals from those three countries—RUSSIA, ITALY, and SINGAPORE—negotiated the sale of 19.5% of Russia’s state oil company, Rosneft.

16) The scandal involves claims Trump was given 0.5% of Rosneft and aid in getting elected in exchange for lifting US sanctions.

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17) The Rosneft deal closed Dec. 5-7. During that time McFarlane visited Trump Tower. It’s believed Russian ambassador/spy Kislyak did too.

18) WSJ wrote in April 2016 that Trump met separately with the ambassadors at the Mayflower and was effusive. Quote: 

Photo published for Trump Met the Russian Ambassador During the Campaign Even Though He Said He Didn’t. It Was Google...

Trump Met the Russian Ambassador During the Campaign Even Though He Said He Didn’t. It Was Google…

Donald Trump met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in April, in the heart of his campaign for president. The now-president of the United States ha …

19) “Trump met at a VIP reception with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. He warmly greeted Kislyak and 3 other ambassadors.”

20) The ambassadors at the Mayflower: RUSSIA! ITALY! SINGAPORE! And the Philippines–which is routinely cited as a Rosneft expansion target.

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21) So Trump warmly, privately chatted with the 3 Rosneft-deal nations at a cocktail hour right before his _first big foreign-policy event_.

22) In his speech Trump called for a Russian detente: “We desire to live peacefully and in friendship with Russia…we are not bound…

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23) to be adversaries. We should seek common ground based on shared interests…an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia…

24) is possible..[I hope to] make a deal under my administration that’s great for America but also good for Russia.” 

Photo published for The definitive Trump-Russia timeline of events

The definitive Trump-Russia timeline of events

Follow our timeline of events on the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.

26) The only Kislyak meeting Sessions _never_ disclosed to Congress, _even after accusations of perjury_, was the meeting at the Mayflower.

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27) But per the organizer of the Mayflower Hotel event, Jacob Heilbrunn of the CNI, a third Sessions-Kislyak meeting _definitely_ occurred.

28) Heilbrunn on the VIP event: “At a reception in the Senate Room of the Mayflower, a number of politicians and Trump advisers, such as…

29) … Senator Jeff Sessions and ambassadors [from Russia and the other nations] congregated before the event.” 

30) The VIP event _wasn’t_ just a receiving line as Trump claimed. It was a “cocktail meet-and-greet”–a full event. 

Photo published for Jeff Sessions Likely Met Russian Ambassador A Third Time

Jeff Sessions Likely Met Russian Ambassador A Third Time

The attorney general initially denied any contact with the Russians, then later admitted to just two meetings.

31) That Sessions would feel the need to hide his contact with Kislyak at the Mayflower event after accusations of perjury raises red flags.

32) The White House saying it has “no recollection” of any of the VIPs at Trump’s _biggest-ever foreign policy event_ is also a red flag.

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33) When Kislyak was asked if he’d met Trump or members of his team during the campaign he replied, “What do you consider a campaign?”

34) Kislyak went on to _fail_ to disclose his meeting with Trump at the Mayflower, citing only a meeting at the RNC. 

35) We know Manafort and Kislyak would have known each other, as Manafort indirectly worked for Putin for years. 

36) We know Manafort set up the Mayflower event and was available for meetings at it–as was Kushner, who later met secretly with Kislyak.

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37) Congress must investigate _any_ Mayflower meetings between Sessions, Manafort, Kushner, Kislyak and the Italian/Singaporean ambassadors.

38) We know the White House lied about Mayflower. We know Sessions has. We know Kislyak has. And we know the Rosneft players were present.

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39) We know there was ample time/space for “sidelines” meetings. And we know Walid Phares was also there, and Trump Jr., and Stephen Miller.

40) So other than the RNC and suspicious Trump Tower meetings in December, the Mayflower Speech should get the _most_ attention in Congress.

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Abramson doesn’t reveal much about his sources, but let’s just be aware that the intelligence community has long been rumored to have the goods on Trump. So yeah. Somebody’s leaking.

Daily Kos readers may also recall that according to the famous British spy dossier on the Russia connection, Carter Page was offered the brokerage commission on the sale of 19% of Rosneft if he could get US sanctions on Russia lifted. And apparently Trump himself wanted a piece of that action, to the tune of 0.5%; and whaddya know? Rosneft sold exactly 19.5% of its stock to person or persons unknown.


There has been discussion in the comments about the veracity of Seth Abramson’s reportage. Here is what I have been able to find so far doing a quick search:

1. Location of Trump’s foreign policy speech was changed from NPC to Mayflower: True.

2. The space at the Mayflower was smaller than the NPC. False.
The NPC’s main ballroom has a capacity of 525, while the Mayflower’s ballroom can seat 1150. Thus the Trump campaign’s stated reason for the move — “overwhelming interest” — makes sense. Both sites have reception rooms adjacent to the main ballroom.

3. There was a reception at the Mayflower before the speech. Ambassador Kislyak was at the reception, along with Trump, Sessions, and three other ambassadors: all True.

4. CNI has Russian connections: misleading.

The CNI (FKA the Nixon Center) appears to be bipartisan and very much into realpolitik. Henry Kissinger is one of the directors. They are focused on foreign affairs, but seem to have no particular love for Putin.

5. Other ambassadors at the reception were from Italy, Singapore, and the Phillipines. True.

6. Italy and Singapore were key players in the Rosneft sale: partially true.

There appears to be no direct governmental involvement from either nation; however, an Italian bank was one of the key players in financing the deal, and a holding company in Singapore was the nominal buyer. (The ownership of that Singaporean company is impossible to trace.) But other nations were involved too: Qatar and Switzerland were also involved in financing the deal.

I’m also adding a link to the Steele dossier on Trump’s Russia ties:

Regarding the most explosive allegation by Abrahamson, that Trump was personally involved in the Rosneft deal, I have found no confirmation (nor did I expect to). If Abramson has sources, he’s not telling us who they might be.

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