American Banker With Ties To Putin Sought Meetings With Trump’s Transition Team

An American banker who has strong ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin sought access to the transition team of then president-elect Donald Trump, days after the 2016 presidential election, sources with knowledge of the interactions confirm.

Reporting from ABC News details how Robert Foresman, presently a vice chairman within the investment division of Swiss-based bank USB, tried to make contact with Trump’s team in order to obtain a position within the soon-to-be president’s administration. Foresman has many deep ties to Russian figures close to Putin, and has himself lived in Moscow for several years.

Television producer Mark Burnett helped in part to set up a meeting with transition team figures, according to three separate sources who knew about the matter. The sources’ information is corroborated by inauguration committee emails that ABC News has obtained, as well as public record committee testimony on the issue.

Foresman was ultimately successful in setting up a time to meet with Trump adviser Jared Kushner for a 10 a.m. appointment sometime in mid-November. Later on that day, Foresman was also scheduled to meet with Trump himself. Both meetings were canceled before they could occur. The reason for the cancellations isn’t known.

Despite being initially unsuccessful, Foresman continued his pursuit to meet with Trump officials, and eventually did meet with Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, in January. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to investigators about his discussions with foreign agents, including then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, to forge policy for the Trump administration before Trump was officially sworn in, according to reporting from the New York Times.

Foresman is someone who has been sought after before to give testimony on matters relating to the Russia investigation. In a letter from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), the ranking chairwoman on the Senate Intelligence Committee, the lawmaker wrote to the banker that the committee had “reason to believe that [Foresman] sought to engage the Trump campaign in discussions concerning outreach from senior Kremlin officials.”

Foresman has many ties to the Russian government, including some that may put him in direct contact with Putin. Foresman is known to have ties to Matthias Warnig, for example, a former East Germany secret police official who helped Putin’s wife get medical treatment in Germany after she was in a vehicle accident.

Foresman also has a working relationship with Igor Sechin, a former deputy prime minister and presently the chairman of Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil company. Foresman has met with Sergei Gorkov, too, a Russian banker who did meet with Kushner during Trump’s transition period.

Other ties abound, including serving on the board of directors for the Russian-American Institute.

Although Foresman has been a known figure in the Russian investigation for some time now, ABC News reported that there is a renewed focus on him and other individuals who had attempted to reach out to the Trump transition team after the candidate’s election win.

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