One of the enduring mysteries that has gone unsolved by special counsel Robert Mueller surrounded mysterious online communications during the 2016 campaign between a computer server located in Manhattan’s Trump Tower — which was then Donald Trump’s main place of residence — and a server registered to Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s largest financial institutions, per The New York Times. Alfa Bank has “longstanding ties” to Russian President Vladimir Putin, per the same media outlet.
The Inquisitr reported on the alleged Trump Tower computer link to Alfa Bank as far back as April of 2017, but the question of what, exactly, was being transmitted between the Trump Tower computer server and an Alfa Bank computer has never been solved.
Or has it? According to a United States Department of State memo — released under the Freedom of Information Act to watchdog group Citizens United — U.S. officials may have had an answer, or at least strong clues, regarding the Trump Tower-Alfa Bank mystery in October of 2016, a month before the 2016 presidential election. The possible solution to the mystery came from former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.
Steele, of course, is the author of the “Steele Dossier,” a collection of privately compiled intelligence documents that was leaked to, and posted online, by BuzzFeed in January of 2017. The dossier alleged deep and alarming ties between Trump and Russia.
According to the memo, as highlighted by investigative journalist Scott Stedman via his Twitter feed, Steele told then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec that Alfa Bank President Peter Aven, a close Putin confidante, acted as “the conduit for secret communication between the Kremlin and [Trump 2016 Campaign Chair Paul] Manafort.”
The memo, available online via the document hosting service Scribd, claims that the Manafort-Kremlin communications were channeled though “a hidden server managed by Alfa Bank.”
Manafort resided in a Trump Tower condominium apartment at the time, as Forbes noted. But the exact content of the communications alleged by Steele between Manafort and the Kremlin — and whether they were the same as the communications between the Trump Tower server and Alfa Bank reported in 2017, and later extensively covered by an investigation from The New Yorker — is not clear from the memo.
Mueller never addresses the Trump Tower-Alfa Bank server link in his full report, which may be read online via The New York Times.
But Mueller included a section of the report — starting on Volume one, page 163 — revealing Aven’s attempts to make contact with Trump’s transition team. Aven’s attempt to use think tank founder Dimitri Simes, who had close ties to the Trump campaign, as an intermediary failed, Mueller wrote. Mueller alleged that this failure came about because Simes “had concerns that Trump’s business connections could be exploited by Russia,” and he did not want his think tank involved in making a connection between Trump and the Russian government.
Simes, as The Inquisitr reported, is now paid a six-figure salary to host a political TV talk show on a state-sponsored Russian TV channel.