What does Russia really want?
Investor's testimony sheds light on bipartisan Russian efforts to overturn the Magnitsky Act
By TATIANA PROPHET
Well, one good thing has already come out of the Russia story. Americans are finally turning away from binge watching fictional TV long enough to find about the death of Sergei Magnitsky in a Russian prison in 2009 -- and what it means for global politics.
Magnitsky was investigating alleged tax fraud by Russian company Prevezon Holdings and several Russian officials, leading all the way to Vladimir Putin.
Last Thursday, Magnitsky's former boss, William Browder, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the whole tragic affair and its intense aftermath as it is still playing out in our nation's capital.
You could almost hear Dianne Feinstein's jaw drop as he announced that Veselnitskaya had been lobbying both Democratic and Republican officials, including a Democratic opposition research firm involved with the Clinton campaign, for nearly two years.
Browder is founder of Hermitage Capital who had employed Magnitsky to investigate the tax fraud, in 2012 successfully lobbied the United States Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act, which bars 18 Russian officials and citizens from entering the United States and prohibits them from using the U.S. banking system.
Word is that overturning the Magnitsky Act is Vladimir Putin's No. 1 goal, according to Browder, born in Chicago but who resides in London. After it was passed in 2012, Putin outlawed the adoption of Russian orphans by American citizens.
Browder's testimony is being used by various media outlets, both right and left leaning, to validate their theories about motives and events during the 2016 election.
Browder testified that Russian attorney Natalya Veselnitskaya, who met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower in June 2016, absolutely works for the Russian government. He also testified that Russian representatives had conscripted Democratic opposition research firm Fusion GPS to lobby against the Magnitsky Act. Browder claims that Fusion GPS contacted major newspapers to allege that Magnitsky was not a whistleblower, that he was not mistreated in prison, and that he was instead a criminal.
Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson was subpoenaed by Congress to testify. At first he sought to plead the Fifth, but then agreed to testify in secret.
Read more in the Washington Post.
View the testimony here.