A newly released report by the Senate intelligence committee has provided a wealth of brand-new details on Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia.
The report states that a Russian national that worked closely with Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was a career intelligence officer.
The report is more than a thousand pages long and goes much further than Robert Mueller’s special investigation. The report shares a shocking web of contacts between Trump, his top election aides and officials within the Russian government in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
Konstantin Kilimnik is identified in the report as a Russian intelligence officer that is employed by the GRU, which is a military intelligence agency. The agency was responsible for the poisoning of Russian agent Sergei Skripal back in 2018.
The report links Kilimnik to the GRU hacking and dumping of emails belonging to the Democratic party.
Kilimnik worked for more than a decade in Ukraine with Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager. Kilimnik and Manafort met up in 2016 to discuss how Trump could defeat Hillary Clinton.
The report outlines Manafort’s willingness to pass on confidential material to alleged Moscow agents as a “grave counterintelligence threat.”
The investigation discovered that Kilimnik had a Twitter account under the pseudonym Petro Baranenko (@PBaranenko). The account regularly shared Russian propaganda.
This direct connection between Trump’s campaign and Russian intelligence makes Trump’s claims that the Russian investigation was a “hoax” or “witch hunt” completely irrelevant.
The report also found that “the Ritz Carlton in Moscow is a high counterintelligence risk environment. The committee assesses that the hotel likely has at least one permanent Russian intelligence officer on staff, government surveillance of guests’ rooms, and the regular presence of a large number of prostitutes, likely with at least the tacit approval of Russian authorities.”
It then adds: “According to two former employees of the Ritz Carlton in Moscow, in 2013 there was at least one [redacted] officer permanently stationed at the hotel. This non-uniformed officer was believed to be a [redacted] and had access to the hotel’s property management system, guest portfolios and notations, as well as the network of “hundreds” of security cameras at the hotel.
“The [redacted] was believed to be able to monitor the camera feeds from his office.”
The report examines previous trips by Trump to Russia. It says that1996 Trump attended a party for several American investors at the Baltschug Kempinski hotel. The event was organized by David Geovanis, who is a Moscow-based businessman that has who links to the Russian security services.
“In some circles of the US expatriate business community in Moscow, it has been common for visiting businessmen to be taken to nightclubs or parties where prostitutes are present. It is likely that Russian security or intelligence services capitalize on those opportunities to collect information,” the report notes.
“During the 1990s and into the 2000s, David Geovanis developed a reputation in Moscow, in part as a host for visiting businessmen,” it adds.
The report then goes on and adds that Trump “may have begun a brief relationship with a Russian woman” he met at the Geovanis party. The woman’s name is blacked out. The report notes that Geovanis is “reluctant to visit the U.S.”
The report also states that Trump’s close confidant Roger Stone in 2016 worked with WikiLeaks. The report suggests that Stone was briefing Trump in real time. Trump’s campaign shaped its message ahead of the WikiLeaks releases of Democratic emails that were stolen by a FRU state hacker in Moscow.
And continues: “Trump and senior campaign officials sought to obtain advance information about WikiLeaks’s planned releases through Roger Stone. At their direction, Stone took action to gain inside knowledge for the campaign and shared his purported knowledge directly with Trump and senior campaign officials on multiple occasions.”
It adds that Trump believed Stone was getting “inside information” from WikiLeaks. It added that it was “implausible” that Trump’s foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos, who found out about the hack in April 2016, did not relay that information to Trump or his campaign.
“The committee offers a much deeper view into the intelligence collected by US authorities than does the much sketchier Mueller report. It will support the view that Mueller, far from exonerating Trump, simply expected to pass the baton to Congress to conduct deeper inquiries,” stated Scott Horton a lecturer at Columbia law school.
The Pew research Center released a new poll on Tuesday that found 75% of Americans expect Russia or another foreign country to interfere in the upcoming presidential election.