Natalia Veselnitskaya attended a black-tie inaugural party hosted by the campaign committee of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, according to an associate who accompanied her. https://t.co/2308ZNDKXu
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 20, 2018
RUS NEVER SLEEPS! Among the many stories that slip below public purview — but not, one assumes, the eyes of Mueller’s Marauders — when the Repubs are busy manipulating the Toddler-in-Chief…
As questions about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election were beginning to percolate publicly, prominent business leaders and activists from the country attended inaugural festivities, mingling at balls and receptions — at times in proximity to key U.S. political officials.
Their presence caught the attention of counterintelligence officials at the FBI, according to former U.S. officials, although it is not clear which attendees drew U.S. government interest. FBI officials were concerned at the time because some of the figures had surfaced in the agency’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, the officials said.
An FBI spokesman declined to comment on security concerns related to the inauguration. White House officials did not respond to requests for comment.
The Washington Post identified at least half a dozen politically connected Russians who were in Washington on Inauguration Day — including some whose presence has not been previously reported. Among them was Viktor Vekselberg, a tycoon who is closely aligned with Putin’s government…
Other Russian inaugural guests included Boris Titov, a politician and business advocate who is running for president of Russia with the Kremlin’s blessing…
Michael McFaul, who served as ambassador to Russia under Obama, said he did not recall prominent Russian visitors at Obama’s 2009 events. “It’s strange,” McFaul, the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford, said of the number of influential Russians in attendance last year.
Some Russian guests at Trump’s inauguration said they got tickets through U.S. political contacts.
One venue for credentials was the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which provided a slew of perks — such as tickets to events with Cabinet appointees, congressional leaders, the vice president-elect and Trump — to donors who gave at least $25,000.
Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are legally permitted to contribute to an inaugural committee. Several U.S. business executives with ties to Russia together donated $2.4 million to the inaugural committee, campaign finance records show…
Trump’s inauguration was celebrated jubilantly in Moscow, where Putin supporter Konstantin Rykov hosted an all-night party. Champagne flowed as an interpreter narrated the new U.S. president’s speech.
In Washington, the Russian Embassy tweeted, “Happy #InaugurationDay2017!” with a photo of people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
The optimism was part of a larger embrace by Russia of Trump’s “America First” outlook, which emphasizes U.S. business interests and national security over promoting freedom and democracy abroad, said Ilya Zaslavskiy, a researcher who has worked with the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative…
Titov, like several of the Russian elites who attended Trump’s inauguration, declined to say how he obtained his tickets, only that they came “via our friends — entrepreneurs in the Republican Party.”…
It’s not as though there were so many Americans clamoring for tickets that people were being turned away, after all. There was plenty of prime space for well-heeled Russian buyers to inspect their new purchase up close. (Much more detail at the link.)
Sad trombone coda:
— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) January 20, 2018
It's a Global Axis of Douchebags https://t.co/zBjVGhSzGC
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) January 20, 2018