Is the reported Donald Trump "pee tape" real? Investigators in the Trump Russia collusion scandal may have taken a step toward answering that question on Tuesday when Keith Schiller — who served as a top bodyguard and close confidant to Donald Trump for two decades — gave sworn testimony about Trump's Russia ties to the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday.
But in that testimony, according a CNN report based on sources familiar with the investigation, the 58-year-old Schiller suffered frequent memory lapses, claiming that he was unable to recall, or was unaware of "a number of potential Russia connections with Trump associates," the report said.
However, a video obtained and posted online by CNN earlier this year clearly shows Schiller attending a meeting with Trump and oligarch Aras Agalarov, along with Agalarov's son Emin, in 2013. Aras Agalarov and his family are billionaire real estate developers with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who awarded the developer Russia's prestigious "Order of Honor" in 2013, the same year that the meeting in the video took place.
One area in which Schiller apparently did not claim a faulty memory, however, was the "pee tape" episode — the allegation that Trump during his trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe beauty pageant, hired Russian prostitutes to perform a "golden shower" urination show for him — on a hotel bed once slept in by United States President Barack Obama — and that Russian operatives recorded a video of the escapade.
According to the CNN report, Schiller appears to have denied that the "pee tape" incident took place. However, no transcript of Schiller's testimony has been made public by the House Intelligence Committee, and the specifics of his testimony remain unclear. The report said only that Schiller denied "salacious claims about Trump's 2013 trip to Moscow that appeared in the opposition research Russia dossier about Trump," a reference to the "Steele Dossier," the private intelligence file documenting Trump's allegedly deep personal and business ties to Russia.
While "salacious claims" may likely refer to the "pee tape" episode, the leaked details in the CNN report do not specify whether Schiller would have been inside Trump's hotel room at the time that the "golden shower" show is alleged to have taken place, or that he was with Trump at all during the time period described in the Steele Dossier.
The video obtained and posted online by CNN, however, shows that Schiller was present at at least one meeting between Trump and top Russian business figures, the Agalarovs, with intimate connections to Putin's government. Also present at the meeting shown in the video is Rob Goldstone, the music publicist who helped set up a June, 2016, meeting between Russian agents promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton and Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr.
Keith Schiller yesterday claimed he had no idea about any of Trump's Russia connections. Here is a last supper-esque photo of Schiller, on the far left, in a meeting that included Emin Agalarov and Rob Goldstone, Michael Cohen, Reince Priebus and others. pic.twitter.com/Ko4DKAFDh2View the video of Trump and Schiller meeting with the top Russian developers in 2013, below.
— Verzodopolous (@subverzo) November 8, 2017
Was Schiller telling the truth about his inability to recall meetings between Trump and Putin-connected Russians? The video embedded above surfaced on July 13 of this year, almost four months before Schiller testified under oath that he could not remember many Trump Russia meetings. Whether Schiller was asked directly about the meeting with the Agalarovs depicted in the video, however, remains unclear.
The answer will remain uncertain unless or until transcripts of Schiller's Tuesday testimony are released to the public. But if Schiller claimed to have forgotten the Agalarov meeting, the above video shows that either Schiller has an extremely faulty memory, or that his testimony was less than truthful. In the latter case, the truthfulness of Schiller's other testimony will be called into question as well, including his apparent denial of the "pee tape" story.
However, numerous Trump associates have already admitted concealing meetings with Russian officials — most recently former foreign policy adviser to the Trump 2016 presidential campaign Carter Page, who made the revelations in House Intelligence Committee testimony last week.
The Agalarov family has partnered with Trump on a so-far unrealized Trump Tower Moscow development project, and also teamed with Trump to bring the 2013 Miss Universe event to the Russian capital.
[Featured Image by Lee Jin-man/AP Images]