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Just as a judgment has been rendered against Gazprom in favor of Ukraine, the machinations of Kushner, the princeling among oligarchs, will get more complicated in the coming weeks.

 

It’s more than business loans as much as it is Kushner manipulating government connections for private purposes and under the guise of promoting Middle East peace.

What is becoming clearer is that regardless of the disinformation barrage, the Steele dossier’s core remains credible. And Mueller still follows the #TrumpRussia money.

While no crimes have been proven, the stories of Kushner’s loans line up remarkably well with one of the Steele dossier’s core allegations of Russian bribery. According to a report by NBC News on Friday, these dealings are also now a key line of inquiry for Mueller’s probe into Russia’s interference in our presidential election.

The deal falls squarely in the middle of a time when Kushner, Michael Flynn, and Page were communicating with Russians in ways that would later prove very embarrassing and potentially suspicious. Here is that timeline, which I initially compiled for my blog in June:

Dec. 1:

Just eight days before this oil megadeal, Flynn and Kushner met Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at Trump Tower, and Kushner proposed a secret communication link with the Kremlin through the Russian embassy. After it was revealed in the press and he was interrogated by congressional investigators, Kushner acknowledged that he was seeking to offer the Russians a “secure line” to the transition team. Congressional investigators would later be curious as to whether or not this back channel might have been intended for the purposes of finding someone to help bail out his family’s real estate company.

Dec. 8: Carter Page—as he later confirmed in his own congressional testimony—meets with Rosneft executives, and then flies to London to discuss new business opportunities in Kazakhstan with Gazprom officials.

Dec. 9: The “largest oil deal in Russia’s history” is announced.

Dec. 13: Kushner meets Sergey Gorkov, who chairs Russia’s government-owned VE Bank (VEB) and is Putin’s close confidant. Analysts have described VEB as Putin’s “private slush fund,” a source of money independent from official Russia budgeting. VEB is under strict U.S. sanctions.

Dec. 14: Gorkov reportedly immediately flies to Japan to meet with Putin.

Dec. 29: Obama orders new Russian sanctions for election hacking and interference. On the same day: Flynn calls Kislyak five times about Russian sanctions. Trump tweets about Putin the next day, calling him “very smart” for not responding to Obama’s sanctions before Trump has had a chance to transition into office.

The Rosneft sale was right after Trump’s victory but before the inauguration. It was also right after Kushner’s push for a secret communications link to the Kremlin through the Russia embassy that U.S. intelligence couldn’t access, and right before Kushner’s meeting with Putin’s banker and confidant Gorkov.

slate.com/…

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