- The Senate Intelligence Committee investigated several allegations of potentially compromising materials on Donald Trump with women in Russia, according to a report released Tuesday.
- The report makes clear that investigators were unable to determine if the so-called kompromat exists, or if the Kremlin ever tried to blackmail the president.
- The report details the efforts to investigate claims made in the Steele dossier, as well as those tied to an American businessman based in Moscow named David Geovanis.
The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee conducted a more detailed investigation than previously known into whether Russians had compromising information on Donald Trump, going as far as examining hotel room expenses that the then-real estate tycoon amassed during a trip to Moscow in 2013.
A report released Tuesday makes clear that the committee was unable to establish whether any of the alleged compromising information was legitimate, or if Russian operatives ever tried to blackmail Trump. The report also shows the lengths to which the intelligence panel went to uncover whether the Kremlin sought to influence the president’s policies towards Russia.
“The Committee collected this testimony and other information, but it did not establish that the Russian government collected kompromat on Trump, nor did it establish that the Russian government attempted to blackmail Trump or anyone associated with his campaign with such information,” the report says.
The report details the committee’s investigation into two alleged videotapes of Trump with women at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow, one of which is the footage discussed in the infamous Steele dossier. (RELATED: Senate Intelligence Panel Found No Evidence Of Trump-Russia Collusion)
The report also details claims that a Moscow-based American businessman named David Geovanis is purported to have made to associates about Trump’s interactions with women in Russia. Geovanis is also referenced in a memo compiled in 2016 by a Clinton-linked political operative named Cody Shearer.
The report indicates that the Senate committee went to exhaustive lengths to investigate allegations from Christopher Steele, the former British spy who investigated Trump on behalf of the Clinton campaign.
Steele alleged that the Kremlin was blackmailing Trump with video of him with prostitutes at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow in November 2013. Trump was in Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant, which he co-hosted with Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov.
Steele alleged that Russia’s intelligence service secretly recorded Trump as he watched several prostitutes engage in a so-called “golden showers” scene on his hotel bed.
Trump has vehemently denied the allegation, and no evidence of the so-called “pee tape” has surfaced.
Steele refused repeated requests for interviews with the Senate intelligence committee, according to the report, which blasted Steele’s “poor” tradecraft.
While Steele has been reluctant to share details about his sources with investigators, his primary source, Igor Danchenko, provided insight about the dossier to the FBI in January 2017.
Danchenko, a Russian national who lives in the U.S., told the FBI that the sex tape claim came from an associate who shared rumors he had heard about Trump’s visit to Moscow. Danchenko said he contacted employees at the Ritz Carlton but was not able to verify that Trump engaged in any sordid behavior, or that he was filmed.
People who were with Trump during his Moscow trip have said that they do not believe he had time to take part in the activities described in the dossier. Rob Goldstone, a British publicist who helped organize the pageant, has said that Trump was alone for only a few hours during his trip to Moscow.
Keith Schiller, Trump’s now-former bodyguard, told the Senate committee that an unidentified man offered to send women to Trump’s hotel room, but that he rejected the proposal. Schiller said he stood guard outside of Trump’s hotel room and that he did not see anyone enter or exit.
The Senate report details Trump’s movements while in Moscow. It says that he arrived in Moscow on Nov. 8, 2013 at around 2:30 p.m. local time and left the Russian capital city at 3:00 a.m. on the morning of Nov. 10, 2013.
The report also includes an itemization of Trump’s hotel room bill for his Moscow visit.
It says that the Ritz Carlton charged Trump’s room $720 at the O2 Lounge, a rooftop bar at the hotel. Another $306 was charged to the room bill for shisha, a type of tobacco. Other charges included $146 for the in-room bar, and other room service items.
It is unclear whether the charges were for activities inside Trump’s room, or elsewhere at the Ritz Carlton.
The Senate report also describes an allegation of Trump activities at the hotel that appear different in nature from Steele’s.
The report said that a former executive with Marriott International, which controls the Ritz Carlton, claimed to have overheard two other hotel executives discussing what to do with a video recording of Trump in an elevator with several women.
“The former executive said the two discussants then left to continue the conversation in a more private location, and he did not hear anything further,” the report says.
The report also cited an email that a Ritz Carlton manager sent on Jan. 13, 2017, three days after BuzzFeed News published the dossier.
According to the report, the manager said that three members of the hotel staff said they did not recall any “unusual happenings” when Trump stayed there. The room was also not damaged, and the staff members said they “strongly doubt” that the room was fixed with video cameras, the email said.
The report also goes into detail about statements that Geovanis, the Moscow-based businessman, made to associates over the years regarding potentially embarrassing information about Trump.
“Geovanis has claimed that, during Trump’s travel to Russia, both in 1996 and 2013, Geovanis was aware of Trump engaging in personal relationships with Russian women. Geovanis has suggested that the Russian government was also likely aware of this information,” the report says.
A Senate witness named William McFarren told investigators that Geovanis claimed at a holiday party in 2015 that he toured Trump around Moscow during his visit there in November 2013.
“He did not get into specifics, but intimated that there was partying and that Mr. Trump should be nice to him in light of the information he had,” McFarren said, though he left open the possibility that Geovanis was joking.
Geovanis claimed that he was with Trump during his visit to the Miss Universe pageant in 2013, but witnesses told the Senate committee that they do not recall seeing him.
The Senate panel also investigated a reference to “tapes” that a former Trump business associate made in a text message in October 2016 to Michael Cohen, the former Trump lawyer.
Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a Georgian-American businessman, wrote to Cohen on Oct. 30, 2016 that he “stopped flow of some tapes from Russia.”
Cohen responded, “Tapes of what?” Rtskhiladze replied that he was not sure of the details, but that someone in Moscow was overheard bragging about Trump tapes.
Rtskhiladze told the Senate panel that his friend Sergey Khoklov had informed him of people discussing rumored Trump tapes but that he never saw any of the materials and doubted they exist.
Cohen told Congress last year, after he began cooperating with the special counsel’s team, that he does not believe any tapes of Trump existed.
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