Mediaite columnist John Ziegler spoke with Bill Browder this weekend, and the international financier used his personal experience with Russia to describe the current power dynamic between President Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Browder is the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, which used to be one of the largest investment firms operating in the Russia. This peerage took a dive years ago when Browder drew Putin’s ire for exposing the “shocking” levels of corruption he discovered within the country’s stock market.
Browder spoke to Ziegler about how Putin had him deported from Russia, labelled as a national security threat, and ordered Russian authorities to fraudulently seize his investment holdings. Browder said it was during this time of his life when he came into contact with Sergei Magnitsky, the attorney who was imprisoned and tortured to death in 2009 after joining Browder in his crusade against Russian corruption.
Magnitsky’s legacy was solidified posthumously after Congress passed the Magnistsky Act in 2012 in order to freeze foreign financial assets owned by Russian human rights violators.
As Browder recalled Magnitsky’s murder, he spoke about how Putin directly involved himself in this matter since the Russian president was one of the top beneficiaries of the corruption Magnitsky exposed.
“Effectively, Vladimir Putin was one of the financial co-conspirators in this crime, and that’s why he cared about it so much, and that’s why there was instructions to effectively do a scorched-earth strategy.”
Browder explained that Putin’s involvement was proven through the 2015 leak of the Panama Papers. Browder also said that Putin’s greatest concern is that sanctions and the Magnitsky Act will put him in a strangehold where he may never be able to access the money he stole through corrupt Russian economics.
“For him, that’s just truly unacceptable, and so, this is a true high-level issue he wants to resolve, and he wants the Magnitsky Act repealed.”
In time, Ziegler brought up how the Magnitsky Act was connected to Donald Trump Jr’s meeting last year with a Russian lawyer. This was the same event where the Trump scion insisted the meeting was all about Russia’s adoption freeze, even though Trump was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton which could help his father win the presidency.
When asked for his thoughts on Trump Jr.’s meeting, Browder remarked “They weren’t talking about adoption, they were talking about repealing sanctions against crooks from Russia who kill.” Browder made his argument by pointing to Natalia Veselnitskaya’s record of advocacy, her apparent disinterest in adoption, and her connections to a Russian oligarch penalized by the Magnitsky Act.
Ziegler eventually asked Browder about whether it was possible that Russian officials met with Trump Jr. to get a sense of whether his father would be positive for their interests if he became president. Browder didn’t want to speculate, but he suggested Russian government officials wouldn’t have asked for the meeting unless they knew they would gain something out of it.
“What we know for sure is that what they went to that meeting in Trump Tower for…was to approach the son of the possible President of the United States and ask him whether he’d be willing to repeal the Magnitsky Act.”
Browder went on to say there was “no question” the Russian government interfered with the 2016 election, and that they didn’t need a collusion deal with Trump to recognize he was favorable to their interests. Eventually, Browder noted how Congress recently passed a bill that would allow the legislature, not the president, to determine the status of sanctions against Russia. Browder said that between this and Trump’s current policies, the Russians are “absolutely frustrated right now.”
“Effectively, Russia policy has been taken away from the White House and brought into Congress,” said Browder. “Putin is furious that all the stuff he was hoping for and the Russian parliament was hoping for, not a single thing has come to pass that benefited Russia.”
Ziegler asked whether this meant that Russia thinks Trump is “impotent and effectively not really president.” Browder responded by saying Trump can’t be the president Russia wants because Congress won’t let him.
Listen above, via Free Speech Broadcasting.
[Image via screengrab]
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