Just when we all thought there might not be a meaningful tie between Team Trump and the Russias, i.e. a tie that is more official and less casual, ABC News did some digging.
In an incendiary ABC News report, it was revealed that the same law firm that wrote a letter on behalf of Donald Trump, insisting he had no meaningful or significant business connections to Russia does, in fact, have their own deep ties to Russia.
ABC News reports that the firm Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius even received the “Russia Law Firm of the Year” award in 2016… while the firm has been employed by the Trump Organization since 2005. Sheri Dillon and William Nelson, two members of that firm, penned a letter that was officially released by the White House in March of this year claiming that the past ten years of Trump tax returns reveal there no ties to Russia save for “a few exceptions.” The exceptions were not expanded upon.
Per ABC News: “In 2016, however, Chambers & Partners, a London-based legal research publication, named the firm ‘Russia Law Firm of the Year’ at its annual awards dinner. The firm celebrated the “prestigious honor’ in a press release on its website, noting that the award is ‘the latest honor for the high-profile work performed by the lawyers in Morgan Lewis’ Moscow office.’
According to the firm’s own website, its Moscow office includes more than 40 lawyers and staff who are ‘well known in the Russian market, and have a deep familiarity with the local legislation, practices, and key players.’ The firm boasts of being ‘particularly adept’ at advising clients on ‘sanction matters.’”
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) called the revelation of the law firm’s close ties to Russia “unreal.”
Washington tax expert Jack Blum, who specializes in white-collar financial crime and international tax evasion, spoke with ABC News about the letter:
“Blum told ABC News that real estate projects, in particular, can be structured with partners and subsidiaries so that it would be easy to shield the identity of all involved. Trump’s tax returns would not show where all the money came from to finance these projects, he said.”
Mr. Blum called the letter a “puff of smoke” and added, “It has no meaning at all. It’s just another way to not answer the question.”
Smart money says that in the intervening time period, umpteen boxes of documents and hard drives have changed location from the law offices of Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, and have found their forever home with Robert Mueller.