Collusion proof? Russian businessman Deripaska says he spent $20 million on FBI op under Mueller

‘Russian collusion’ might actually be a thing, but it seems the Mueller team should have looked into the FBI’s past to find it, after Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska revealed he funded a covert op for the bureau in the early 2010s.

The bombshell revelation was made by the Russian businessman in an exclusive interview with The Hill TV. The story of the businessman’s involvement with the FBI was reported before yet now it’s confirmed by Deripaska himself.

The billionaire tycoon, who is the founder of the Russian aluminum giant United Co. Rusal, said he spent over $20 million between 2009 and 2011 to fund a private operation to rescue Robert Levinson from captivity in Iran after he was approached by FBI operatives that were led by Robert Mueller at the time. Ex-FBI agent Levinson disappeared back in 2007 during a ‘private’ mission in Iran, which was later confirmed to have been a CIA operation.

“I was approached, you know, by someone [who] is under a lot of scrutiny now — McCabe,” Deripaska said. “He also said that it was important enough for all of them [FBI]. And I kind of trusted them.”

While the businessman insists he wasn’t expecting anything from the bureau in return, he might have been rewarded for his ties with the FBI. Deripaska was denied a US visa back in 2006 over his alleged ties to Russian organized crime, yet in 2009 he was granted a very rare law enforcement parole visa.

The operation to rescue Levinson was quite successful, and the Deripaska-funded team got “close” to securing a deal to free the agent. In 2010, apparently thanks to their efforts, a video showing the US citizen in captivity emerged, proving that he was still alive. The operation, however was ultimately torpedoed by the US State Department, headed by Hillary Clinton at the time, that objected to the Russian businessman’s involvement.

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“I heard that some Russian ‘hand,’ or whatever you call people who are expert on the Russians at the State Department, [said], ‘We just don’t want to owe anything to this guy,’” Deripaska stated. It’s unlikely that the former FBI agent is still alive after being missing for over a decade, the Russian businessman believes, since he would have likely been freed in 2016 when the Iranian nuclear deal was struck.

Deripaska has also shed some light on his ties with one of the main purveyors of the “Russian collusion” hysteria – British spy Christopher Steele. His legal team hired Steele to do some research back in 2012, when Deripaska was involved in a legal battle with a business rival in London – apparently not being aware of Steele’s ties to the FBI.
Using the visa troubles pretext, Steele lured the businessman into a meeting with some Justice Department officials, who were said to be willing to help. Instead, they tried to recruit him.

“They actually never talk, you know, about the [visa] problem. They start talking about anything else. They ask, ‘Do you have anything? Give me names. Cases, whatever,’” Deripaska said, adding that he was shocked when Steele resurfaced during Clinton’s presidential campaign and became one of the main sources for the now-defunct “Trump-Russia collusion” theory.

Also on rt.com Russian businessman Deripaska sues US over ‘devastating power’ of sanctions...

Under the Trump administration, Deripaska’s troubles with US authorities went well beyond petty visa issues, culminating in personal sanctions, imposed in 2018. He was ultimately included on Washington’s so-called ‘Kremlin list’ of “oligarchs” and politicians. The designation resulted in Deripaska’s US assets and entities being blocked and his enterprises blacklisted for any business relations.

The businessman has challenged the decision in the US court. The tycoon claims the sanctions are ruining his business and says they have already cost him over $7.5 billion.

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Vigilantes or patriots? FBI arrests head of militia rounding up illegal migrants at US border

Federal agents have detained the head of New Mexico’s people’s militia group, whose volunteer forces have ‘helped’ US border agents detain hundreds of illegal immigrants along the US-Mexico border, for illegal possession of arms.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, who runs the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP) was arrested on Saturday on charges of possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon, the FBI said. No other information was shared with the public. The 69-year-old is due to appear in US District Court in Las Cruces, New Mexico on Monday.

Also on rt.com US militia hunting illegal migrants is cut from crowdfunding for ‘promoting hate & discrimination’...

“This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas stated.

Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.

The militia, made up mostly of veterans armed with guns and other tactical gear, had volunteered to help the Border Patrol agents deal with a wave of immigrants in the vicinity of Sunland Park, New Mexico until President Trump’s wall is built there. Their tactics, however, triggered a massive backlash as they were seen chasing down suspected illegals and holding them at gunpoint before surrendering them to US authorities.

Also on rt.com Citizen’s arrest or kidnapping? US militias told to stand down after catching 300+ migrants (VIDEOS)...

This week, Hopkin’s ‘vigilante patriots’ detained nearly 300 people in the desert. Footage of what they call ‘citizen's arrests’ –and what critics denounce as simple ‘kidnapping’– showed a big crowd, including women and children kneeling on the ground waiting for government officers to pick them up.

United Constitutional Patriots New Mexico Border Ops more still flooding in...

While the group believes their harsh tactics are legal and necessary to stop what President Trump calls an “invasion” over the US southern border, UCP’s methods have not been welcomed by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who noted that “regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone.” Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union called them a “fascist militia” and demanded that authorities investigate the organization.

Also on rt.com Like immigrants? Here’s an 'unlimited supply’: Trump threatens to dump illegals in sanctuary cities

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"Multiple False Statements" By Trump Ex-Aide Paul Manafort To FBI: Judge

Washington: US President Donald Trump's former election campaign chief Paul Manafort breached his plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller by lying to prosecutors, a US judge has said.

US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Manafort "made multiple false statements" to the FBI, Mueller's office and a grand jury, the BBC reported.

Mueller leads a probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

This related to his work as a political consultant in Ukraine.

Manafort, 69, then accepted a plea deal on other charges in return for co-operating with Mueller's investigation.

In her ruling on Wednesday, Judge Berman Jackson said there was evidence that showed Manafort had lied about -- among other things -- contacts he had with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political consultant. Prosecutors claim Kilimnik had ties to Russian intelligence.

The judge also cleared Manafort of allegations that he lied on two other subjects.

The verdict means that Manafort -- who has been held in a detention centre in Virginia since June -- could now potentially face harsher sentences or have charges against him re-filed.

Last year, Mueller said that Manafort lied "on a variety of subject matters" after signing the plea deal.

Last August, Manafort was convicted on eight counts of fraud, bank fraud and failing to disclose bank accounts.

A month later he pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy against the US and one charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice in a plea bargain with Mueller. The agreement avoided a second trial on money laundering and other charges.

The plea deal meant Manafort would face up to 10 years in prison and would forfeit four of his properties and the contents of several bank accounts -- but deadlocked charges from the previous trial would be dismissed.

It was the first criminal trial arising from the Department of Justice's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election.

However, the charges related only to Manafort's political consulting with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, largely pre-dating his role with the Trump campaign.

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FBI Investigated if Trump Worked in Favor of Russia

Washington, Jan 12 (Prensa Latina) The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) opened a probe in 2017 to determine if U.S. President Donald Trump worked secretly in benefit of Russia, U.S. media publish today.

Dailies, TV networks and digital websites echo a report published by The New York Times, which says that after Trump dismissed former FBI director James Comey in May that year, officials in charge of enforcing the law were concerned about the president's behavior.

Based on that concern, they began investigating Trump to see if he had worked in favor of Russia and against U.S. interests in a probe of explosive implications, said the NYT.

According to the paper, counterintelligence officials should consider if the president's actions represented a threat to national security and they also attempted to determine if he acted knowingly or not for the Euroasian nation.

The inquiry of the Federal agency also focused in a criminal aspect already known for a long time: if the dismissal of Comey obstructed justice on the part of the head of the White House.

After leaving his post, many attributed the fact that Comey was the person heading the probe about a supposed Russian interference in the 2016 elections and a supposed complicity with the Trump campaign.

Although at first the administration attributed the dismissal to the handling carried out by the former director of the investigation on the private e-mail server of democrat former candidate Hillary Clinton, the president himself let it be known later that the dismissal was related to the Russia issue.

According to the newspaper, agents and high officials of the FBI suspected the connection of Trump with Russia during the 2016 campaign, but they abstained from opening a query on that issue, partly because they were not sure of how to pursue a probe of such sensitivity and magnitude.

But the activities of the president before and after the dismissal of Comey helped to boost the aspect of counterintelligence of the investigation, indicated the daily that quoted sources familiar with the issue.

The special prosecutor Robert Mueller took charge after the investigation on the 2016 elections, as part of which have been accused on different charges previous Trump collaborators, but the daily sustained it is not clear if at this time the process of counterintelligence begun in 2017 is still going on.

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‘Hunt for our people goes on’: Moscow warns there’s no ‘safe place’ after US nabs Russian national

The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a warning about what it describes as a “hunt on our citizens,” urging travelers to be cautious. The message follows the detention of a Russian citizen by the FBI in Saipan.

Russians should take every precaution when traveling abroad and ensure there’s nothing in their records that might interest the US, the Foreign Ministry warned after the 39-year-old citizen was arrested.

 
   © (top left) Viktor Bout / Reuters / Damir Sagolj; (top right) A placard with an image of Konstantin Yaroshenko / Sputnik; (bottom left) Maria Butina / Reuters / Alexandria Sheriff's Office; (bottom right) Family photo of Roman Seleznyov / AFP

“US law enforcement officials are continuing their hunt on Russian citizens,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told TASS on Saturday. The statement was issued just after Dmitry Makarenko was detained by FBI in the Pacific island of Saipan. 

The diplomat said any Russian who has reason to believe that he or she could be of interest to the Americans “should assess the consequences of traveling abroad” because “there is, in fact, no safe place, no guarantee [that they will not be arrested].”

The indictment put forward against Makarenko alleges that he and his associate Vladimir Nevidomy, a resident of Florida, tried to transfer military-grade equipment, such as night-vision rifle scopes and ammunition primers, to Russia between April and November 2013.

Nevidomy pleaded guilty to the charges last June and is now serving a 26-month sentence. Makarenko first appeared before court on Monday and is facing 45 years behind bars if found guilty.

Meanwhile, a Foreign Ministry statement said it learned of Makarenko’s arrest from his relatives. “US authorities – breaching the bilateral Consular Convention – did not inform us in due time about our citizen being detained,” it said

Makarenko’s detention is the latest in a string of arrests by US authorities of Russian citizens. Last December, Mira Terada was detained by Finnish police on an Interpol warrant initiated by the United States, according to the Russian Embassy in Finland. She was accused of engaging in drug trafficking and money-laundering activities during her brief stay in the US between 2013 and 2016.

Also on rt.com Russian arrested by FBI for exporting rifle scopes & ammo primers to Russia – court documents...

In July of the same year, gun-rights advocate Maria Butina was arrested for failure to register as a foreign agent while living in the US, and now faces charges that could land her in prison for five years.

Makarenko’s detention coincided with that of Paul Whelan, who was brought into custody in Moscow in late December. The FSB, Russia’s security service, maintains that the American was collecting intelligence through social media platforms. His relatives have denied the allegation, saying the ex-marine (who was given a bad-conduct discharge in 2008 over accusations of theft) was in Russia for a wedding.

READ MORE: ‘It’s cold there, she’s lost weight’: Mother of Russian woman in Finnish MALE PRISON reveals details

Notably, as the story unfolded, it emerged that apart from holding US and UK citizenships, Whelan also had Canadian and Irish passports.

Russian diplomats say they are trying to get consular access to a detention site in Florida, where Makarenko is being kept. Meanwhile, Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Russian Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said Russia will defend its citizen whose arrest was in violation of international law.

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Over 8,400 Hate Crime Incidents Reported In US In 2017, Says FBI

Washington: Over 8,400 hate crime incidents - including 24 against Sikhs, 15 against Hindus and over 300 against Muslims - were reported in the US in 2017, according to an FBI report.

The report that released yesterday is topped with 1,678 hate crimes committed against the Jews.

In all, as many as 8,437 hate crimes were recorded in the year 2017. Nine anti-Buddhist hate crimes were also registered last year, the report said.

There has been a rise in racism and crimes against South Asian Americans since the November 2016 election of President Donald Trump, first Indian-origin US Senator Kamala Harris said recently, calling on Americans to stand united and speak the truth to deal with these issues.

According to the report, a total of 24 anti-Sikh, 15 anti-Hindu and 314 anti-Muslim hate crimes were reported in the US.

Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed in Kansas in Midwestern US in February last year.

A 43-year-old Indian-origin store owner Harnish Patel was shot dead outside his home in South Carolina on March 2.

A 39-year-old Sikh man Deep Rai was injured on March 3 when an unidentified person shot him outside his home in the city of Kent.

An Indian-origin girl was racially abused on a train by an African-American man in New York on February 23.

The Sikh Coalition, a community-based organisation that defends Sikh civil rights, said that in 2017, it received 12 anti-Sikh hate crime cases and tracked a total of 24 anti-Sikh hate-related incidents nationwide.

"This figure alone is under representative of the problem since many individuals impacted by hate do not report the incidents.

"For the reported cases to law enforcement, a historical challenge is that agencies routinely fail to identify bias during investigations. Even when they do, they often do not report it to federal authorities, so the data never shows up in the statistics," it said.

"Even with incomplete data, this new report shows our elected officials that hate in America is thriving and profoundly impacting the safety and well-being of minority communities nationwide," said Sim Singh, Sikh Coalition senior advocacy manager.

He said politicians were culpable when they drive divisive policies and "bigoted political rhetoric" that routinely puts lives at greater risk.

There are approximately 500,000 Sikhs in the US. In the wake of the 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin massacre inside a gurdwara, the FBI finally agreed to begin tracking anti-Sikh hate crimes in 2015.

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FBI probe is the next battle in war over Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. senators expressed concern on Sunday over reports the White House was working with Republicans to narrow the scope of an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

President Donald Trump bowed to pressure from moderate members of his Republican Party on Friday and ordered the probe after Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor, detailed her allegations at a Senate hearing that Kavanaugh assaulted her in 1982, when the two were in high school.

The stunning reversal capped two weeks of allegations, followed by furious denials, that roiled prospects for Trump’s nominee, a conservative federal appeals court judge once expected to easily become the second Trump nominee to win a lifetime appointment to the top U.S. court.

Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s accusation, as well as those of two other women.

Separately, the Senate Judiciary Committee made public late on Sunday a previously unreleased interview with Kavanaugh from Sept. 26, before a public hearing with Ford, in which he denied all the allegations against him and committee Democrats declined to ask questions, saying they felt the FBI should investigate the allegations.

Republicans, who are trying to retain control of the U.S. Congress in November elections, are seeking to balance their desire for another conservative justice on the court with sensitivity about how they handle sexual misconduct allegations amid the reverberations of the #MeToo movement.

It did not take long, however, for the FBI probe to become an object of partisan division.

A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the White House had defined the parameters of the probe for the FBI and that the investigation would start with interviews with only four people.

NBC News, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal previously reported that the White House was constraining the investigation, prompting Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to express concern.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s top Democrat, wrote to White House counsel Donald McGahn and FBI Director Christopher Wray and asked that the committee be provided with a copy of the written directive the White House sent to the FBI, as well as the names of any additional witnesses or evidence if the probe is expanded.

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

LIMITING THE PROBE

The administration denied it was trying to control the probe, which the Judiciary Committee said on Friday “would be limited to current credible allegations” and wrapped up within a week.

“We’re staying out of the way,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told “Fox News Sunday.”

However, the administration made clear there would be limits. “It’s not meant to be a fishing expedition,” White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Trump vowed on Saturday that the FBI could interview “whoever they deem appropriate.”

On Sunday, he criticized Democrats for expressing concerns about the length and scope of the probe.

“For them, it will never be enough!” he wrote on Twitter.

The FBI will question Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party when both were students at Yale University, the White House official told Reuters.

It will also question Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh who Ford said witnessed the assault, and Leland Keyser and P.J. Smyth, who she said were at the gathering.

A third accuser, Julie Swetnick, was not on the initial list of witnesses to be interviewed.

Senate Republicans compiled the list of four witnesses and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell shared it with the White House, the official and another source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that the White House asked the FBI to share its findings after the initial interviews and that Trump and his advisers would then decide whether the accusations should be investigated further.

Neither the FBI nor a Judiciary Committee representative would comment on details of the probe.

Senator Susan Collins, among a handful of moderates who joined Republican Senator Jeff Flake, said in an email: “I am confident that the FBI will follow up on any leads that result from the interviews.”

Flake was instrumental in forcing the investigation.

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said it would not be unlawful for the White House to restrict the investigation’s scope because the FBI is under the executive branch.

However, Tobias said FBI agents were usually allowed to act independently and it would be a “clear conflict of interest” for White House officials involved in Kavanaugh’s confirmation process to interfere with the FBI’s investigation.

 

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The Bandit Bob Menéndez and His Accomplices

The ongoing trial this Monday against the democratic senator Bob Menéndez for bribing was postponed, despite accumulating so many charges against him.  

Among them he is accused of fraud and illicit association. To that is added the fact of false statement for not reporting gifts he received from the multimillionaire oculist Salomón Melgen.  

This occurs despite the 18 crimes authorities attribute to those involved.

  

A juror pointed out that, in his opinion, she had voted since in favor of an acquittal since it was impossible the agreement of judges about what happened.  

If the jury doesn’t come to an agreement, it would give place for a mistrial; this would be considered a defeat for the government, given the seriousness of the accusations and the 24-month period used in the investigation.  

Some remember that this process included accusations on the relationships kept by Menéndez and Melgen with prostitutes from the Dominican Republic that shook the press of that Caribbean country at the time.  

Others don't forget that Salomón Melgen has been one of the most generous donor to the electoral campaigns of Senator Robert Menéndez to keep his positions in the United Congress States.  

The scandals ended up mixing FBI interventions in the oculist's offices in Miami.  

The federal judge of that city, after receiving the notification of the jury, set them free. "Go home, eat and rest well and clear up your minds”, then he asked them to return on Tuesday.  

Prosecutors sustain that Menéndez and Melgen conspired between 2006-2013. Menéndez, they say, accepted deluxe vacations and flights in the eye-doctor’s private plane in exchange for his political influence.  

Everybody knows that Bob Menéndez next to Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Marco Rubio, and Rafael Dìaz-Balart have integrated the group that has viciously attacked Cuba behind the argument of a supposed lack of democracy.  

However, you will know them by their facts.

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