A new 1,000 page ‘Russia Report’ by a Republican led Senate Intelligence Committee reveals Trump had an extensive network of connections with Moscow.
The report claims that Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national who worked on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and who had worked for Paul Manafort (Trump’s campaign manager), for over a decade in Ukraine, was ‘a career intelligence officer’ and may even have been a member of the military intelligence agency behind the Skripal poisoning. Kilimnik has also been linked to the hacking and dumping of Democratic party emails. It has also been alleged that Manafort had been passing on confidential material to a number of Moscow agents.
The report further claims that there was “a cadre of individuals ostensibly operating outside of the Russian government but who nonetheless implement Kremlin-directed influence operations” and that Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska had been funding operations, assisted by the Kremlin.
The committee found that Kilimnik and Manafort used burner phones, encrypted chat services, a shared email draft and that they frequently changed email accounts in an attempt to stay under the radar.
The report also has a section on Trump’s 2013 visit to Moscow and his stay at the Ritz-Carlton hotel. It alleges that a suspected Russian intelligence officer was stationed at the building and that he had access to a “network” of security cameras, including some hidden inside guest rooms and that the hotel also permitted access to a large number of prostitutes and that this might have happened with ‘at least the tacit approval of Russian authorities’, implying, in other words, that it may even have been encouraged. The Ritz Carlton in Moscow is described in the report as “a high counterintelligence risk environment”.
The report mentions that Trump also visited Russia in 1996 along with a group of American investors. They attended a party at the Baltschug Kempinski hotel that had been arranged by Russian Businessman, David Geovanis, who also has links to Russian security services. Apparently, Geovanis regularly organises ‘partys’ for the US expatriate business community in Moscow and these party’s frequently feature prostitutes. The report concludes that it’s highly likely that Russian intelligence would use such opportunities to collect information.
The report also describes Russian involvement in Trumps 2016 Presidential campaign as “aggressive and multi-faceted” and how it included significant levels of coordination between the Trump campaign and their Russian intermediaries. At one point it describes how Trump’s close friend, Roger Stone, was working with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign and was therefore able to get advance sight of the content of the Democrat emails that had been stolen by Russian state hackers. The smoking gun, they say, is that the Trump campaign was able to shape its messaging even before WikiLeaks had published the information, thus implying that the Trump campaign was being briefed ‘in real time’ by Russia, via Stone.