Donald Trump Allegedly Rigged 2002 Miss Universe Pageant So Vladimir Putin’s Mistress Would Win

Donald Trump may have a new tie to Vladimir Putin: a conspiracy theory that claims Trump rigged the 2002 Miss Universe pageant so Putin’s mistress would win the title.

Trump’s campaign is currently under investigation for allegations of collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential race, with the Russia probe from special counsel Robert Mueller turning in the first indictments, including Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

There is still no evidence connecting Trump to Russia, but a new theory spun by a popular independent journalist claims that their relationship is nearly 15-years-old. Seth Abramson, who has shared information from sources close to the Russia investigation and pointed out connections between Trump associates and Russia, claims that sources say Trump rigged the 2002 Miss Universe competition to help Putin’s rumored girlfriend.

“According to an individual with firsthand knowledge of the judging of the 2002 Miss Universe pageant, Trump tried to rig the outcome of the international contest to award the prestigious ‘Miss Universe’ title to Vladimir Putin’s then-mistress, Oxana Fedorova,” he wrote on Twitter.

Abramson went on to claim that once the competition reached the final 10, Trump instructed the judges on how he would like to see it end.

“There’s definitely, clearly one woman out there who’s head and shoulders above the rest. She’s the one I’d vote for,” Trump reportedly said.

Sources said Trump’s statement came across as an instruction to the judges.

In the end, Oxana Fedorova won the competition, but would have quite a short reign as Miss Universe. Within four months, Trump had worn thin of Fedorova blowing off her obligations and fired the pageant winner, which the New York Post noted was the first time a winner was ever cut loose by the pageant’s governing body.

Pageant officials said Fedorova gave a series of excuses for missing her appearances, none of which the pageant officials could verify.

“We never got a straight answer from her on anything,” said Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart.

“She would call and tell me her mother was hospitalized with an unspecified illness. The first time, we were very concerned and asked if we could send flowers to the hospital. She said they don’t do that in Russia.”

With Fedorova stripped of her title, runner-up Justine Pasek of Panama took over as Miss Universe.

At the time, media had been romantically linking Oxana Fedorova to Vladimir Putin, including reports that the Russian president hand-picked Fedorova to represent Russia in the beauty pageant. Oxana denied having a relationship with Putin.

But Oxana Fedorova apparently didn’t harbor any ill feeling toward Donald Trump, the Express noted. After his election win in 2016, she slammed western media outlets for “bothering” her in an attempt to gather dirt on Trump. Fedorova said she “only had a positive, favorable impression after interacting and working with him.”

[Featured Image by Kristina Nikishina/Getty Images for Baku]