A former FBI agent who is now a private counterterrorism analyst told the Senate committee investigating the connections between Donald Trump and Russia that their investigation needs to "follow the trail of dead Russians." Senate Intelligence Committee witness Clinton Watts told the senators that Russians who may have knowledge of the Trump Russia connections have been dying in mysterious ways at an alarming rate in recent months.
"There have been more dead Russians in the past three months that are tied to this investigation, who have assets in banks all over world," Watts testified. "They are dropping dead even in Western countries."
According to a CNN report last week, eight "prominent Russians," some with possible connections to the Trump Russia scandal, have died over the past five months alone. In one instance, former top KGB official Oleg Erovinkin was found dead in the back seat of his own car. Erovinkin is widely believed to have acted as a source for the "Steele Dossier," a report compiled by a former British intelligence agent.
The Steele Dossier contains numerous allegations about Trump's connections to the Kremlin — but it gained international notoriety for the claim that in 2013, Trump hired two Russian prostitutes to perform a "golden shower" urination show for him, on the same bed in a luxury hotel where President Barack Obama had recently slept.
Watts added that he, himself, expected to be the target of Russian cyber-attacks and may even be in physical danger following his testimony on Thursday — but that unlike under previous administrations, he could not count on the Trump administration to protect him, due to Trump's connections to Moscow.
"My biggest fear isn't being on Putin's hit list or psychological warfare targeting me — I've been doing that for two years," Watts told the committee.
"My biggest concern right now is I don't know what the American stance is on Russia, on who is going to take care of me. After years in the Army and the FBI, working in the intel community — today, I'm going to walk out of here and ain't nobody going to be covering my back. I'm going to be on my own, and so that's very disconcerting."
Watch the entire hearing held Thursday in the following video.
Watts is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute Program on the Middle East and Senior Fellow at the Center For Cyber and Homeland Security at The George Washington University. He is also a former United States Army infantry officer and West Point graduate.
In his testimony, he also noted that Russian propaganda specialists targeted Trump and the Trump 2016 presidential campaign with "fake news" stories because they knew that Trump — for some reason — could be counted upon to repeat the propaganda, which in turn caused the Russian disinformation to spread throughout the American mainstream media.
"He (Trump) has made claims about voter fraud, that President Obama is not a citizen, that Congressman [Ted] Cruz is not a citizen," Watts stated. "So part of the reason these active measures work, and it does today in terms of Trump Tower being wiretapped, is because they [the Trump team] parrot the same lines."
Watts also cited Trump's then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who last August in a CNN interview complained that the U.S. media ignored "the NATO base in Turkey being under attack by terrorists."
But in fact, there was no terrorist attack on any NATO base in Turkey. The story was a hoax spread by the state-owned Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik.
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