Putin critic says Russian lawyer's Trump Tower meeting was about sanctions

Congress passed the Magnitsky Act, which forbids several high level Russians from coming to the United States or using our banking system.

Hermitage Capital CEO William Browder told the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on Thursday that the effort to repeal the sanction, the Magnitsky Act, was an obsession of Putin's even though it would appear highly unlikely to ever be accomplished.

Members of the Senate judiciary committee who were focused on alleged efforts by Russia to influence the U.S. presidential election turned their focus on Thursday to an American CEO who once employed Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer for whom the 2012 act that sanctioned Russian officials and nationals for human rights abuses was named. But briefly, the story is this after Browder exposed the corrupt financial practices of Putin's cronies-Browder estimates that Putin has a fortune of at least $200 billion in ill-gotten gains squirrelled away in the West-Putin came after Browder personally, deporting him in 2005, and 18 months later, seizing all the documents related to his investments in the country.

The complaint says Rohrabacher "made personal introductions for lobbyists advocating the Russian government's and Grin's position against the Magnitsky Act".

Simpson, he continued, is running a "professional smear campaign", and he knows he's not the only victim.

BROWDER: Well, what I'm saying with 100% certainty is that they were working to undermine the Magnitsky act and the timing of that.

Congress then passed sanctions legislation in response in order to punish officials believed to be involved in Magnitsky's death.

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The hearing had been postponed after the New York Times reported that Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin had been two of the key members of a meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort at Trump Tower in June 2016.

For his efforts in uncovering this corruption, Magnitsky was arrested by the same Interior Ministry officials he was accusing of stealing the tax money and thrown in prison where, according to the official finding of the Russian government, he died of a heart attack. Veselnitskaya had allegedly promised to provide Trump Jr. with compromising information about Trump's rival Hillary Clinton. "One of the people that they were able to convince to go along with them is a member of the House of Representatives from Orange County, Dana Rohrabacher, who they have met with on a number of occasions and who has been effectively touting, or spreading their propaganda around the House of Representatives", Browder said. It's been said by people who attended that meeting.

When asked about being influenced by foreign agents, Rohrabacher told Newsy: "The media has a mindset that is a sinister mindset who wants to portray a picture of me and people who don't want to have war with Russian Federation again as some kind of tool or useful idiot or paid off idiot. Particularly at a time when we face unprecedented interference in our democratic process by a certain country, namely Russian Federation", said Sen. "They wouldn't have gone in without being prepared to offer something in return". "It affects Putin's money", Browder said.

"What is clear is that the president and his allies are desperately trying to smear Fusion GPS because it investigated Donald Trump's ties to Russia", Fusion said in the statement.

Browder was testifying at a hearing on a law requiring foreign agents to register.

"The Foreign Agents Registration Act, or what our chairman called FARA, is really an important issue".

The Department of Justice is tasked with the oversight of foreign agents.

  • Megan Austin