The 2013 Miss Universe Pageant, or “my weekend in Moscow” as Donald Trump called it, was an important weekend in view of the Russia investigation. Donald Trump, by November 2013, was already quietly setting up a run for president – as Michael Cohen told Page Six in May 2013, “The electoral research was commissioned. We did not spend $1 million on this research for it just to sit on my bookshelf.”
In Moscow, on the weekend of November 9, 2013, Trump finally made the Kremlin contacts that were necessary to make his 30 year dream of building Trump Tower Moscow come true, as Part One covered. He cemented a friendship with Aras Agalarov, although the deal they made would be set aside after he was inaugurated. By his own account, as reported by The Guardian, that weekend Trump “was with the top-level people, both oligarchs and generals, and top-of-the-government people. I can’t go further than that, but I will tell you that I met the top people, and the relationship was extraordinary.”
That weekend was a very, very good weekend for Donald Trump.
The weekend of November 9, 2013 is the infamous weekend in which the Steele dossier alleges that prostitutes were sent to the Ritz Carlton Hotel’s presidential suite where Trump was staying and, at his request, “defiled” the bed where Barack and Michelle Obama had once slept by urinating on it. More importantly, the dossier states that Russian intelligence filmed Trump with the prostitutes, providing Putin with kompromat to hold over Trump. (Kompromat is compromising materials that the Kremlin can use as leverage over an individual to gain cooperation.)
President Trump, according to notes then FBI Director James Comey took about their conversations, denied even staying overnight in Moscow on two separate occasions, as reported by the New York Post.
According to the contemporaneous memos Comey wrote about his conversations with Trump that the Justice Department gave to Congress last week, the president twice said he had not stayed overnight in the Moscow Ritz-Carlton.
Trump’s first denial came over dinner at the White House in late January 2017.
“He said he arrived in the morning, did events, then showered and dressed for the pageant at the hotel,” and then left for the event, Comey wrote.
“Afterwards, he returned only to get his things because they departed for New York by plane that same night.”
On the second occasion in February 2017, Trump “explained, as he did at our dinner, that he hadn’t stayed overnight in Russia during the Miss Universe trip,” Comey wrote.
Flight records reported by Bloomberg call into question the president’s claim that he did not stay in Moscow overnight. His jet landed in Moscow at 6:15 a.m. on Friday, November 8. He was seen in pictures shared on social media throughout the weekend. He appeared in Emin Agalarov’s music video on November 9. He then attended the Miss Universe Pageant and the after party, which started at 1 a.m. on November 10. The jet he was using took off at 3:58 a.m. local time, landing at 4:11 a.m. EST in New York on Sunday, November 10. That evening, Trump tweeted about his trip.
I just got back from Russia-learned lots & lots. Moscow is a very interesting and amazing place! U.S. MUST BE VERY SMART AND VERY STRATEGIC.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2013
Donald Trump has denied the dossier’s most salacious accusation by saying he is “very much a germaphobe, believe me” in a press conference following the release of the dossier by BuzzFeed shortly before his inauguration and by claiming he is very careful when he leaves the country because he is aware of the threat of hidden cameras and is surrounded by bodyguards.
NBC reported that three sources who were present when Trump’s long time bodyguard, Keith Schiller, testified before the House Intelligence Committee have described his four hour interview which focused heavily on the Moscow trip. The sources say that Schiller, in his four hour testimony which focused heavily on the Moscow trip, said:
- a Russian offered to send 5 women to Trump’s hotel room
- the offer was viewed as a joke because “we don’t do that type of stuff”
- he and Donald Trump laughed about it
- Donald Trump went to bed alone
- Schiller stood outside Trump’s door “for awhile” then went to bed
- is confident it didn’t happen but could not say for sure what happened for the remainder of the night
His lawyer disputes the sources’ claims, saying, “the versions of Mr. Schiller’s testimony being leaked to the press are blatantly false and misleading”.
The dossier, however, asserts that confidential sources confirmed the events with the prostitutes and went on to say,
Trump’s unorthodox behavior in Russia over the years had provided the authorities there with enough embarrassing material on the now Republican presidential candidate to blackmail him if they so wished.
In an article for the BBC from January 2017, Paul Wood explains the infamous “pee pee tape” described in Steele’s dossier may not be the only kompromat on Donald Trump in existence.
And the former MI6 agent is not the only source for the claim about Russian kompromat on the president-elect. Back in August, a retired spy told me he had been informed of its existence by “the head of an East European intelligence agency”.
Later, I used an intermediary to pass some questions to active duty CIA officers dealing with the case file – they would not speak to me directly. I got a message back that there was “more than one tape”, “audio and video”, on “more than one date”, in “more than one place” – in the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow and also in St Petersburg – and that the material was “of a sexual nature”.
The claims of Russian kompromat on Mr Trump were “credible”, the CIA believed. That is why – according to the New York Times and Washington Post – these claims ended up on President Barack Obama’s desk last week, a briefing document also given to Congressional leaders and to Mr Trump himself.
What We Know
While President Trump has specifically denied the dossier’s salacious allegations, the known facts show that, at the very least, they are plausible.
He was in Moscow in 2013 and stayed in the Ritz Carlton’s presidential suite, as the dossier states. Trump has lied about the length of time he spent in Moscow in November 2013 but he was there from November 8 – 10 and clearly had ample opportunity to employ prostitutes. The revelations about his alleged relationship with porn star Stormy Daniels, not to mention relationships with a multitude of other women over the years, demonstrate that his germaphobia does not prevent him from engaging in illicit activities. They also demonstrate his vulnerability to blackmail. As candidate and president, Donald Trump has consistently promoted pro-Russia policies and praised Vladimir Putin even at the expense of alienating US allies.
The known facts do not prove the allegations to be true but they do raise serious questions about the implications of what happened on Donald Trump’s weekend in Moscow.
The Miss Universe Pageant weekend is more important than the salacious allegations – it was a weekend in which Trump made contact with high level Russians and set in motion events that would lead to a meeting in Trump Tower between Donald Trump’s campaign manager, son and son-in-law and a Russian lawyer who has since admitted to being a Russian informant. Donald Trump sealed a deal of his lifetime on that trip, a deal that would be sacrificed a few years later for the presidency.
Trump Tower Meeting