So, a Russian billionaire who claims that he put Trump in the White House is following me on Twitter.
This will take a little explaining.
First — Artem Klyushin started following my Twitter account yesterday.
Note the “Twitter Verified” logo next to the flag next to his name. Artem Klyushin is a billionaire who apparently lives in Moscow, is in his 30’s, loves Aston Martin cars and supermodels, and never sits still. To be honest I don’t know much about him, but you can gather quite a lot by his Twitter feed. By my estimate he tweets about a million times a day.
There are three particular tweets of his that have been getting attention lately though. The first is this one from 2013:
That is Klyushin on the right. Note I screen-captured this last night. You can see the original at this link: https://twitter.com/ARTEM_KLYUSHIN/status/399143619443294208
You might recognize the guy in the middle. According to Seth Abramson (more later), this is the meeting in Moscow during the Miss Universe pageant in 2013 where a deal was signed to build a Trump tower in Moscow. Trump was originally supposed to have a face-to-face meeting with Putin to make this deal, but Putin didn’t attend at the last minute. His real estate man, permits man, and banker did attend in person, Putin attended via conference call (possibly this picture), and the deal was signed.
That deal was active until January 2016, right before the presidential primaries, when it was abandoned due to lack of land permits. Note this means the Moscow Trump tower deal was active during Trump’s presidential campaign.
Also note that six months later in an interview Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort (today indicted and under house arrest awaiting trial) said that it was “absurd” to ask if there were any ties between Trump and Russia:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you or your campaign and Putin and his regime?
MANAFORT: No, there are not. That’s absurd. And, you know, there’s no basis to it.
The second tweet of Klyushin’s that has gotten attention is this one from a few months ago:
Put through Google Translate:
Again, I took that screen capture last night, the original tweet is here: https://twitter.com/ARTEM_KLYUSHIN/status/913537179825197057
The third tweet is here, the day after the last one:
So, Klyushin appears to be claiming that Trump would not be in the White House today without his assistance, and in return they were waiting for Trump to drop the sanctions against Russia.
To be honest, I have no idea if Klyushin is serious, or kidding, or what. But there are an awful lot of pictures of him with Trump, his Twitter feed is full of tweets saying how great Trump is, and he has resources and connections such that he could have plausibly have at least made an attempt at swaying a U.S. election. There was obviously a deal to build a Trump tower in Moscow, involving Klyushin, when Trump said there were no deals. If that’s not worth investigating, I don’t know what is.
Also, for a guy in Russia, Klyushin seems to take an outsized interest in defending Roy Moore.
So now, after all that, why is Artem Klyushin following *my* Twitter feed? Well, I’m not the only one. For a while now I’ve been following Seth Abramson’s (@SethAbramson) feed along with a few hundred thousand other people.
Seth is an attorney and law professor who has been doing very detailed analysis of Trump’s and his campaign’s and cabinet members’ connections to Russians like Klyushin through Trump’s trips to Moscow, the Moscow Trump Tower deal, and efforts to repeal the U.S. sanctions against Russia. I highly recommend following him on Twitter, he’s prone to spit out long, detailed and well-sourced analyses, pretty much daily.
Let me be clear — these are not “he said, she said” allegations. They are sourced, like the links above, from pictures, posts, and tweets directly from Trump, his U.S. associates, and people he associated with in Russia. There are a lot of intelligent and legally experienced people digging through apparently billions of tweets, Instagram posts and whatever else piecing together timelines of what happened when.
Lately Seth has been focusing on why Trump told Putin and the people in the first photo, during that meeting, that he was going to run for president 18 months before he told anyone in the U.S.
Oh by the way, Seth alleges that Klyushin is likely the one who offered to provide Trump, during this trip, with the five prostitutes mentioned in the dossier that everyone has heard about and that Trump’s bodyguard testified about in front of Congress.
At any rate, Seth Abramson apparently came to Klyushin’s notice. Klyushin in turn apparently decided to follow some or all of the people who follow @SethAbramson, perhaps the people who have re-tweeted some of Seth’s posts like I have. I can’t really say why, but I’m guessing he’s not following me because I’m a hard-hitting journalist or a supermodel. It stinks to me a bit like putting people on notice that they’re on a list somewhere, but of course this is something that you are certainly allowed to do on Twitter. It’s a feature, not a bug, but a lot of people who follow Seth are disconcerted about it nonetheless.
So that’s it, in a nutshell. It’s a lot, there’s a hell of a lot more, and none of it looks very good. I do have a lot of questions though, and I certainly have one more Russian billionaire following me than I had this time last week.