With news coming out daily about Donald Trump and his associate’s ties to Russia, the alleged president’s scheduled meeting with a close ally of President Vladimir Putin’s was probably not the best idea, but his affiliation with Russia’s president is not why the White House abruptly canceled the meet and greet event.
The meeting which was scheduled in February between Trump and high-level Russian central banker Alexander Torshin was found by a national security aide to have dubious ties, notably with organized crime.
Torshin had been named by Spanish police as a suspected “godfather” of an organized crime and money-laundering ring, according to an administration official and four other sources familiar with the event, Yahoo reports.
The event was reportedly planned as a meet and greet with Trump and Torshin, who is the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia. The event was scheduled to take place in a waiting room at the Washington Hilton before the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 2nd. So, they were going to say their prayers then meet up with a Russian banksta’. Sounds legit.
Torshin, among other guests, had been invited by Prayer Breakfast leaders to meet with Trump before it began.
But while reviewing the list of guests, a White House national security aide responsible for European affairs noticed Torshin’s name and flagged him as a figure who had “baggage,” a reference to his suspected ties to organized crime, an administration official told Yahoo News. Around the same time, a former campaign adviser alerted the White House that the meeting could exacerbate the political controversy over contacts between Trump associates and the Kremlin, another source familiar with the matter said.
So, the meet and greet with the Russian mobster was apparently canceled, in part, or whole, because it could add fuel to Trump’s Russia scandal, but not because it would be wrong.
However, the White House official who spoke to the reporter with Yahoo News, said they were already planning to ditch the meeting after concerns were raised by the National Security Council staffer.
But, it wasn’t until the night before the scheduled meeting with Trump that Torshin was informed of the cancellation without explanation.
Late the night before, we were told that all meet and greets were off,” said a special assistant to Torshin. “There were no specific questions or statements that Mr. Torshin had in mind during what we assumed to be a five-second handshake. We all hope for better relations between our two countries. I’m sure there will be other opportunities to express this hope.”
Oh sure, just call Trump up on his red phone.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.