Shadowy Russiagate figure dies at convenient time for Putin, Trump
Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall has been all over the Trump Russiagate saga, particularly the role of Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen. And tonight, there’s been a bit of a big development in the story:
Alex Oronov, who runs a major agribusiness concern in Ukraine… was a partner in the ethanol business Cohen and Cohen’s brother Bryan set up in Ukraine about a decade ago. Oronov is Bryan Cohen’s father-in-law. Today we learned that Oronov apparently organized that ‘peace plan’ meeting that brought together Ukrainian MP Artemenko, Cohen and Felix Sater. About four hours ago Andrii Artemenko, the Ukrainian parliamentarian who came to New York with that ‘peace plan’, went on Facebook to announce that Alex Oronov has died.
(I was first alerted to Artemenko’s post by Natasha Bertrand of Business Insider who has been all over this story.)
The rest of the post is a sort of pained rant, blaming Oronov’s death on the reporting of The New York Times. The Times you’ll remember published the story on Feb. 19 describing the meeting between Artemenko, Michael Cohen and Felix Sater. Artemenko describes himself as a pawn caught up in a war between the Times and Donald Trump and said the stress created by the article and the subsequent press attention was too much for Oronov to bear.
A notable detail is that Artemenko says that it was Oronov who arranged the meeting described in that initial story by the Times. Here is a loose translation courtesy of a friend who is a Russian speaker: “Yes, I’m guilty …. Alex Oronov, my partner, my friend, my mentor, Alex was a family member of Michael Cohen. And he organized all kinds of stuff, including an introduction and a meeting for me with Michael Cohen.”
More details on Natasha Bertrand’s Twitter feed. (This link will add replies and other posts.
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) March 4, 2017
Bill Palmer’s view cannot be understated:
Yet another individual directly involved in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal has dropped dead under suspicious circumstances, and for the first time, the deceased is a United States citizen. Alex Oronov, one of the organizers of a plot that had the Kremlin pressuring Trump to oust the president of the Ukraine, has died. Palmer Report has determined that Oronov lived in Donald Trump’s building… the Trump Hollywood building.
Trump Hollywood is a group of condominiums in Hollywood, Florida (not California) that’s controlled by Donald Trump and a real estate partner. According to separate English language and Russian language background searches we’ve conducted, Alex lived in a condo in Trump Hollywood. Oronov was born in Ukraine while it was part of the Soviet Union. Shortly after the Soviet Union fell, he moved to Florida, ending up in Trump’s building. Oronov is also an in-law of Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, another conspirator in the Ukraine plot.
The timing suggests that Alex Oronov may have been a Kremlin agent or loyalist, and fled after the USSR fell. That would explain why, despite being Ukrainian himself, he was involved in a plot to overthrow the Ukrainian president and hand control back to the Kremlin. In any case, Oronov has been a naturalized United States citizen for twenty years. Up to now, the seven previous people who dropped dead in and around the Trump-Russia scandal had all been Russian citizens.
Did Putin finally murder an American citizen?