In a stunning tweetstorm this evening, columnist and reporter Seth Abramson (Huffington Post, Dallas Morning News, Seattle Times, Washington Post) laid out all the details on the Russia-Trump connection. And folks, if true this is impeachment territory, and imprisonment territory, for the highest officials in the United States.
Note that the Center for the National Interest will be abbreviated “CNI” often in this thread.
Abramson doesn’t reveal much about his sources, but let’s just be aware that the intelligence community has long been rumored to have the goods on Trump. So yeah. Somebody’s leaking.
Daily Kos readers may also recall that according to the famous British spy dossier on the Russia connection, Carter Page was offered the brokerage commission on the sale of 19% of Rosneft if he could get US sanctions on Russia lifted. And apparently Trump himself wanted a piece of that action, to the tune of 0.5%; and whaddya know? Rosneft sold exactly 19.5% of its stock to person or persons unknown.
There has been discussion in the comments about the veracity of Seth Abramson’s reportage. Here is what I have been able to find so far doing a quick search:
1. Location of Trump's foreign policy speech was changed from NPC to Mayflower: True.
2. The space at the Mayflower was smaller than the NPC.
The NPC's main ballroom has a capacity of 525, while the Mayflower's Grand Ballroom can seat 1150. But according to a subsequent tweet by Abramson, Trump’s speech was actually held in the State Ballroom, which seats 400 in theater mode.
Thus the Trump campaign's stated reason for the move -- "overwhelming interest" -- makes sense. Both sites have reception rooms adjacent to the main ballroom.
3. There was a reception at the Mayflower before the speech. Ambassador Kislyak was at the reception, along with Trump, Sessions, and three other ambassadors: all True.
4. CNI has Russian connections: misleading.
The CNI (FKA the Nixon Center) appears to be bipartisan and very much into realpolitik. Henry Kissinger is one of the directors. They are focused on foreign affairs, but seem to have no particular love for Putin.
5. Other ambassadors at the reception were from Italy, Singapore, and the Phillipines. True.
6. Italy and Singapore were key players in the Rosneft sale: partially true.
There appears to be no direct governmental involvement from either nation; however, an Italian bank was one of the key players in financing the deal, and a holding company in Singapore was the nominal buyer. (The ownership of that Singaporean company is impossible to trace.) But other nations were involved too: Qatar and Switzerland were also involved in financing the deal.
I'm also adding a link to the Steele dossier on Trump's Russia ties:
Regarding the most explosive allegation by Abrahamson, that Trump was personally involved in the Rosneft deal, I have found no confirmation (nor did I expect to). If Abramson has sources, he’s not telling us who they might be.