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Russia Probe
weekly primer
May 11, 2018

This Week: Russian Oligarch-Linked Firm Paid Cohen Huge Sums For Trump Access

The Michael Cohen and Russia scandals collided this week with the news that Cohen drew hundreds of thousands of dollars to a shady LLC he operated by promising access to the Trump administration. The most notable sum was a $500,000 payment from Columbus Nova, the U.S. affiliate of a firm controlled by Russian oligarch and Putin ally Viktor Vekselberg. Vekselberg has cropped up in Trumpworld several times before, attending the 2015 RT dinner in Moscow with future national security advisor Michael Flynn and Trump’s 2017 inauguration in Washington, D.C. Both he and his American cousin, Columbus Nova CEO Andrew Intrater, have been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team about the payments to Cohen and the other massive sums Vekselberg’s U.S. allies funneled to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. In April, the Trump administration added Vekselberg to a list of Russian individuals and entities under U.S. sanction because of “malign activity.” Cohen’s access-peddling extended to the corporate world, too. AT&T paid…

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