In a move that provided just the boost the media needed to keep the fizzling Russian collusion narrative alive, Michael Avenatti, the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, took to Twitter on Tuesday to claim a Russian oligarch — which the lawyer could not spell — paid President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen $500,000 after the 2016 election.
Avenatti claimed the oligarch, Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, has “close ties” to Russian President Vladimir Putin, suggesting that Russia “reimbursed” the $130,000 Cohen paid to his client, but it turns out that Vekselberg also has close ties with former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.
According to Avenatti, the $500,000 was deposited into the same account used to pay Daniels. He didn’t provide any documentation to support his claim or explain how he would have acquired such information.
(Not that this stopped the media from running with the story.)
“After significant investigation, we have discovered that Mr. Trump’s atty Mr. Cohen received approximately $500,000 in the mos. after the election from a company controlled by a Russian Oligarc with close ties to Mr. Putin. These monies may have reimbursed the $130k payment,” the tweet read.
After significant investigation, we have discovered that Mr. Trump’s atty Mr. Cohen received approximately $500,000 in the mos. after the election from a company controlled by a Russian Oligarc with close ties to Mr. Putin. These monies may have reimbursed the $130k payment.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 8, 2018
The Washington Examiner reported in September 2016 on ties between Vekselberg and the Clintons, a relationship that “continued throughout Hillary Clinton’s time at the State Department.”
More from The Examiner:
“New emails show Clinton Foundation staff pushed Hillary Clinton’s State Department to approve a meeting between Bill Clinton and a powerful Russian oligarch as her agency lined up investors for a project under his purview.
The Clintons’ relationship with Viktor Vekselberg, the billionaire whose name appears in the documents, has taken on new significance amid an expanding criminal investigation into his company. […]
Vekselberg had been named head of a partnership dubbed the “Russian Silicon Valley” just three months before a Clinton Foundation employee began pushing the State Department to approve Bill Clinton’s proposed meeting with Vekselberg and a handful of other Russian executives.
The paper also reported that Vekselberg’s Renova Group donated between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, and that firm associated with him donated $25,000 to the foundation.
There was $500,000 payment involved here, as well — paid to Bill Clinton:
Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank, paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for that speech, according to his wife’s financial disclosures from 2010. The State Department had given its approval for the trip just two days after Bill Clinton’s office filed its request.
The former president’s travel to Russia for the speech and potential meetings with Vekselberg and others came as Hillary Clinton’s State Department labored to drum up interest in a technology-sharing project, led by Vekselberg, called Skolkovo.
There are also unconfirmed rumors from Roger Stone of ties between John Podesta, who served as Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, and Vekselberg, involving money that was allegedly laundered through an energy company Podesta held shares in.
It would appear that if Special Counsel Robert Mueller truly wants to find collusion, he needs to start with Team Hillary.
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