Monday, July 10, 2017

The Magnitsky Act & Donald Trump Jr

Let us pause for a moment and consider the Magnitsky Act. Sergei Magnitsky was an auditor from a Russian law firm who uncovered the biggest case of tax fraud in the history of Russian kleptocratic corruption, which is something. In response, Magnitsky was arrested and put on trial for tax evasion in front of a bunch of crooks in lovely kangaroo suits. He died in prison of untreated medical problems and (probably) from being beaten to death by the good people from the Interior Ministry. In 2012, the Congress passed a law that froze the assets and effectively rendered non-persons 18 Russian officials who were tied in some way to the persecution and murder of Sergei Magnitsky. This got up the nose of Vladimir Putin, who responded by suspending the adoption of Russian children by American families. He also launched a PR blitz headed by a well-connected hack lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya. Which is where Junior comes in.


Let's let Junior's most recent explanation [of his meeting with Veselnitskaya] speak for itself, because it's just the funniest thing ever.


This [...] is Junior's official explanation: I thought we were colluding to ratfck the Democratic candidate, and the presidential election in general, but then she started talking about getting the mobsters' money back. Bitch set me up.

This is not an argument I would bring to court.

Right now, there are more Russians involved in this story than there are in War and Peace. Many of them have the power to cloud men's minds; how else to explain the fact that both Kushner and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III both forgot to mention to the responsible vetting agencies meetings with various Russians. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the statue in the Lincoln Memorial was wearing a fur hat some morning very soon. At this point, I wouldn't be shocked if the R in Rhode Island suddenly turned backwards.


The breadth and depth of the corruption is almost impossible to believe. There's identity theft … of corporations. (I guess they really are people, too.) There's the entire world as their laundromat, including "Manhattan real estate." Russian security forces raided corporate offices and then used what they took to set up front companies to clean the cash. Essentially, they looted this hedge fund of about $230 million. Magnitsky looked into it. He got busted by the same people he was investigating, and it got him killed. Of course, Bharara got fired, and the case was quietly settled for $6 million and no admission of guilt by anybody.

What I believe I see here is an incredibly corrupt American family doing business with criminal gangs that are way, way out of their league, and that are in league with the institutions of government, and the formidable security apparatus, of an authoritarian state. Talk about punching out of your weight class.


For months now, people have been asking what the Russians "have" on Donald Trump. Maybe it's just fear. If it's not, it ought to be.

  Charles P Pierce
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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