Thursday, June 15, 2017


An American lobbyist for Russian interests who helped craft an important foreign policy speech for Donald Trump has confirmed that he attended two dinners hosted by Jeff Sessions during the 2016 campaign, apparently contradicting the attorney general’s sworn testimony given this week.

Sessions testified under oath on Tuesday that he did not believe he had any contacts with lobbyists working for Russian interests over the course of Trump’s campaign. But Richard Burt, a former ambassador to Germany during the Reagan administration, who has represented Russian interests in Washington, told the Guardian that he could confirm previous media reports that stated he had contacts with Sessions at the time.


When John McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona who is a frequent critic of Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin, asked Sessions in a hearing this week before the Senate intelligence committee about whether the attorney general had ever had “any contacts with any representative, including any American lobbyist or agent of any Russian company” during the 2016 campaign, Sessions said he did not.

“I don’t believe so,” Sessions said.

Sessions' only hope at this point is to plead ignorance. And, honestly, after listening to him testify, I'd have to say he'd have a pretty darn believable defense.
Several media reports published before Trump’s election in November noted that Burt advised then candidate Trump on his first major foreign policy speech, a role that brought him into contact with Sessions personally.


Sessions, a former senator for Alabama who was chairman of the Trump campaign’s national security committee, reportedly invited Burt so that he could discuss issues of national security and foreign policy.
So why is a lobbyist for Russian interests chosen to advise Trump on his foreign policy speech?

And, by the way, this is not new news.
When NPR interviewed Burt in May 2016 about the talk, he said he was “asked to provide a draft for that speech, and parts of that draft survived into the final [version]”.
The speech was the one given at the Mayflower Hotel, and the "third meeting" that Sessions failed to report in his confirmation hearing which was "leaked" just before his testimony at the Senate hearing. I guess poor Jeff's memory failed him many, many times. Happens to the best of us, right?
While Burt has not played a central role in the FBI and congressional investigation, Sessions’ response about his dealings with American lobbyists [...] could invite more scrutiny of the attorney general’s testimony.
And rightly so. He should be held in contempt, though, for refusing to provide any answer at all to so many of the questions.
Burt also serves on the board of Deutsche Bank’s closed-end fund group, according to his online biography.
There's that bank again.
The former ambassador and lobbyist appears to have recently sought to downplay his role in helping Trump to formulate the Mayflower speech, telling the Daily Beast earlier this year that he had transmitted his counsel through a third party intermediary.
And that makes a difference why?  And why was he at the Mayflower?

I don't see anything wrong with taking a stance to have better relations with Russia. So why is Trump, and the people around him who have had meetings and conversations with Russians and Russian lobbyists, trying so hard to hide the fact?

Something is rotten in Denmark, Hamlet.

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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