From The Washington Post:
As questions about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election were beginning to percolate publicly, prominent business leaders and activists from that country attended inaugural festivities, mingling at balls and receptions — at times in proximity to key American 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.
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.
Another was Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer whose June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. has become a focus of the Russia investigation. She attended a black-tie inaugural party hosted by the campaign committee of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), according to an associate who accompanied her.
Some of these half-dozen Russian bigwigs said they got their super V.I.P. credentials for the inauguration through “U.S. political contacts”, including the Presidential Inaugural Committee. They declined to be more specific. The thing is, however, that one has to donate to get these first-class tickets, yet it would have been illegal for non-Americans to make donations.
So who invited them? There is some serious quid pro quo going on here, some serious collusion. Follow the money. (Or the kompromat.)
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.