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16-Jul-2017 16:39

But his links with Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and Felix Sater, a criminal and former business associate of Trump, has become important in establishing whether the Kremlin was actively seeking to influence American policy.

Mr Artemenko has been accused of treason by the government of Petro Poroshenko and stripped of his citizenship.

But there is a common thread running through just about every example: Pompeo doing and saying questionable things involving Russia - and those questionable things tend to lean in a pro-Trump direction.

The most recent example is Pompeo's meeting with William Binney, a former intelligence official who argues that the DNC hack wasn't a hack at all, but rather a leak from within.

The appeal of Binney's theory to Trump is clear: It suggests Russia's interference wasn't nearly so broad or influential as the intelligence community contends.

And that's where it ties in nicely with Pompeo's other recent controversies.

The Ukrainian connection in the Trump affair is under increasing scrutiny.

Mr Artemenko, an MP, is a relatively unfamiliar name in the expanding and colourful cast of those now entangled.

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Mr Artemenko delivered his plan to Mr Cohen who passed it on, it has been claimed, to Michael Flynn, a former Lieutenant General, who was then Mr Trump’s National Security Adviser.

At an event three weeks ago, Pompeo made a highly curious remark, saying that “the intelligence community's assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election.” This mirrored a talking point previously offered by Trump and the White House, but that talking point is categorically false.

The intelligence report said clearly that it wouldn't weigh in on how much impact Russia may have had, not that it didn't have an impact.

Separately, Pompeo also has drawn scrutiny for making an agency unit deeply involved in investigating possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia - the Counterintelligence Mission Center - report directly to him, as the Greg Miller reported.

Even when that came about in August, intelligence officials were expressing concern about the possible politicization of Pompeo's job.

Mr Flynn was himself forced to resign over his contacts with the Russian government and is now the subject of an inquiry over that as well as over lobbying for Recep Tayyep Erdogan’s Turkish government.



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