Mike Pence recently vowed to world leaders that U.S. would never be Russia’s puppet, but some Trump associates reportedly aren’t shying away from secret deals regarding the foreign power. Trump remains seriously angry at the media and U.S. intelligence over leaks regarding Flynn’s communications with a Russian ambassador and similar conversations by Trump campaign staffers, So, a new report from the New York Times will only upset him more.
The NY Times details how Flynn — a week before his resignation as national security advisor (and admission that he’d lied to Pence) — received a secret proposal that was influenced by a Ukrainian lawmaker, Andrii Artemenko, on how to end Russian sanctions. This arrived as a sealed letter that was favored by multiple Trump associates and delivered through Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen:
Mr. Flynn is gone, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul D. Manafort.
Sater’s a shadowy figure, a former FBI informant (with mob ties and multiple felonies on his record) whose ties with Trump include real estate development. And although Trump has tried to shake off the association, it’s clear that the two are still linked. To what degree this is is still the case, people believe the potential fallout could someday be huge.
Whereas Cohen’s an interesting character who childishly lashes out on cable news, and the New York Times reports his assertion that Trump knew nothing of this proposal. The NY Times describes Cohen and the other involved Trump associates as “amateur diplomats,” and the proposal also included a plan to oust the Ukranian president:
But the proposal contains more than just a peace plan. Andrii V. Artemenko, the Ukrainian lawmaker, who sees himself as a Trump-style leader of a future Ukraine, claims to have evidence — “names of companies, wire transfers” — showing corruption by the Ukrainian president, Petro O. Poroshenko, that could help oust him. And Mr. Artemenko said he had received encouragement for his plans from top aides to Mr. Putin.
“A lot of people will call me a Russian agent, a U.S. agent, a C.I.A. agent,” Mr. Artemenko said. “But how can you find a good solution between our countries if we do not talk?”
The proposal stands unanswered, since Flynn is obviously out of the picture, but Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., Valeriy Chaly, told the NY Times that Artemenko is “not entitled to present any alternative peace plans on behalf of Ukraine to any foreign government, including the U.S. administration.”
However, Artemenko seems to believe that Putin aides are in favor of the plan, and the NY Times also reminds us that not only does Cohen have ties to the Ukraine (he helped set up an ethanol business there, and his wife is Ukranian), but he’s also one of multiple Trump associates under scrutiny by U.S. intelligence. In addition, Trump’s second campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was removed from the campaign after he appeared in a “secret ledger” of Ukraine funds.
(Via New York Times)