Friday, May 24, 2019

Paper Music

Updated with moar conspiracy theory

1996 composition Paper II by Josef Anton Riedl.

That question of what documents Natalya Veselnitskaya brought to the Trump Tower meeting of June 9 2016 just got quite a bit tighter in my mind, thanks to a closer reading of the relevant bit of the Mueller Report, describing the lunch Veselnitskaya had before the meeting with Rinat Akhmetshin, Ike Kaveladze, and the translator Anatoly Samochornov. It's likely nobody but Ten Bears is prepared to put up with this yet again, but Bear with me, because I think it changes the perspective quite a bit.

As you'll recall, Akhmetshin told AP in July 2017 that
Veselnitskaya brought with her a plastic folder with printed-out documents that detailed what she believed was the flow of illicit funds to the Democrats...
Printouts that I've speculated could have been from the DNC emails stolen by Russia, which included a host of Finance Contribution Status reports and Donor Vet Committee reports that did indeed detail the flow of money to the DNC during the period from January 2015 through May 2016 (though it was my impression that practically everything in the WikiLeaks publication was from the last two months), and that could have served Manafort (as opposed to the stupid and inexperienced Kushner . and Junior) as proof that the Russians had really managed to hack this stuff.

What Akhmetshin told Mueller's investigators (in an interview on 11/14/17) about the lunch, on the other hand, which I haven't noticed before, focuses this in a remarkable way:

Veselnitskaya said she was meeting ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ and asked Akhmetshin what she should tell him.718 According to several participants in the lunch, Veselnitskaya showed Akhmetshin a document alleging financial misconduct by Bill Browder and the Ziff brothers (Americans with business in Russia), and those individuals subsequently making political donations to the DNC.719■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■720
The group then went to Trump Tower for the meeting.721
(That redaction, due to an "ongoing matter", seems pretty hard to explain given that we believe we know everybody who was there, though there was a point when it was starting to look like the Marx Brothers' stateroom in A Night at the Opera.)

Which is still very different from what Veselnitskaya said was the only thing in her folder, the five-page memo on the purported wickedness of the Ziffs, in which their political contributions received only a single very noncommittal mention suggesting they had no evidence whatever and certainly not mentioning donations to DNC specifically:
it could "not be ruled out" that the Ziff Brothers "financed" Clinton's campaign.
With this, the donors in the printouts are unexpectedly identified, as people affiliated with the Ziff Brothers firm, which should be mentioned in the printouts (donors have to name their employers), Veselnitskaya's opponents in the Prevezon case involving the large sum of money Vladimir Putin alleged had been stolen by Bill Browder and his murdered lawyer Sergey Magnitsky, but Magnitsky had shown (before he was murdered) was in fact stolen by the Prevezon principals, as the US courts agreed, the people Veselnitskaya was officially there to complain about because their corruption had theoretically brought sanctions on the Russian people and forced President Putin to shut down the baby adoptions program. It wouldn't have been a random bunch of contributions in the folder, then, but a very specific list consisting of the Ziffs and their employees.

Which could have been quite a lot of money: the DNC Services Corporation was the top beneficiary of political contributions from individuals associated with the Ziff Brothers in 2016, $296,966 (which adds up to 110 people donating the maximum $2700). And it wouldn't be some random list of contributors, but a specific list of Veselnitskaya's enemies, which would (in terms of my theory) perform the double function of letting some of the attendees think it was just part of Veselnitskaya's craziness, and others to recognize the hacking that had taken place and was being proposed as assistance "from Russia and its government" to the Trump campaign.

So that's the big thing that makes my theory stronger.

Looking at the WikiLeaks database, I find zero evidence of references to Ziff Brothers contributions in the DNC emails, but the total references to contributions, only from April to May, seem pretty scanty over all, and there aren't any references to famous Clinton contributor names like Pritzker or Saban either, and I might have no idea how to find them. It could be that there just weren't any in the stolen emails, which would wreck my hypothesis, or it could be that there weren't any in the months the Russians and WikiLeaks focused on, or it could be that Russians and WikiLeaks pulled all the stuff I'm curious about out of the collection, but I think my inability is as good a reason as any of those.

I'm not ready to ask the DNC or the Ziffs to check out their own records on this, but if any cops who know them are reading this, you might give it a try. It does begin to look more and more like the thing I've been imagining, and it does so because of the particular questions the Special Counsel's investigators decided to ask.

Norbert Sell's Kochtopfxyolophon (Cooking pot xylophone), 2008

Also, once again, don't forget that it was Akhmetshin who sketched out the quid pro quo at the meeting and got Junior to sort of agree (Emptywheel was on this part instantly):
Akhmetshin then spoke about U.S. sanctions imposed under the Magnitsky Act and Russia’s response prohibiting U.S. adoption of Russian children.731 Several participants recalled that Trump Jr. commented that Trump is a private citizen, and there was nothing they could do at that time.732Trump Jr. also said that they could revisit the issue if and when they were in government.733
There are lots of redactions (grand jury material, and I'm not prepared to guess which witness unless it's Manafort, whose grand jury testimony was notably "false and misleading", but Akhmetshin and Kaveladze both testified to the grand jury on the meeting) in the footnotes to this brief paragraph, and a reminder that Junior agreed, in Senate testimony, that he had done as reported, suggesting to me that Mueller has imagined this too, and tried to work it up:

730   Kaveladze 11/16/17 302, at 8; ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ Akhmetshin 11/14/17 302, at 12.
731 Samochornov 7/13/17 302, at 3; ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
732 E.g., Akhmetshin 11/14/17 302, at 12-13; ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
733 Akhmetshin 11/14/17 302, at 12-13; ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ Samochornov 7/13/17 302, at 3. Trump Jr. confirmed this in a statement he made in July 2017 after news of the June 2016 meeting broke. Interview of: Donald J. Trump, Jr., Senate Judiciary Committee U.S. Senate Washington DC, 115th Cong. 57 (Sept. 7, 2017).
And this (as recalled by people who didn't know what they were seeing and hearing, and didn't imagine it was important at the time, or in the case of at least two of them who were hiding something) is how the conspiracy was sealed—the proffer of DNC emails, the counter-offer to lift sanctions if Trump was elected—right in front of everybody's eyes.

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