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Senate investigators are calling for Trump's American former businessmen in Moscow

The Senate intelligence committee, which examines allegations of Russian involvement in the 2016 election, has been keen to talk to David Geovanis for months, the sources say.Geovanis helped organize a trip in 1996 to Moscow by Trump, who was in the early stages of pursuing what would be a long-term goal of building a Trump Tower in the Russian capital, according to several media reports at that time. 19659002] Years later, Geovanis worked for the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, whose band to Trump's 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort was also interesting for investigators.Two witnesses who have provided evidence to the Senate's Learning Committee say they were asked the question of Geovani's previous relationship with the president during interviews last year. The interviews were conducted by staff working for both the Republican and democratic sides of the committee, according to the sources, who wish to remain anonymous due to the confidential nature of the Senate investigation. This is the first time Geovani's name has been revealed in connection with the various investigations that are underway in Russian influence on US policy, which includes a sweeping new home survey on Trump's financial interests. The interest of the Senate Learning Committee in Geovanis suggests that the investigation is hiding further back to Trump's past in Russia than previously thought. A businessman, three women and Joseph Stalin One of the two witnesses says the committee has a photograph of a younger Geovanis who apparently poses in a portrait with three partially dressed women. The…

The Senate intelligence committee, which examines allegations of Russian involvement in the 2016 election, has been keen to talk to David Geovanis for months, the sources say.

Geovanis helped organize a trip in 1996 to Moscow by Trump, who was in the early stages of pursuing what would be a long-term goal of building a Trump Tower in the Russian capital, according to several media reports at that time. 19659002] Years later, Geovanis worked for the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, whose band to Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort was also interesting for investigators.

Two witnesses who have provided evidence to the Senate’s Learning Committee say they were asked the question of Geovani’s previous relationship with the president during interviews last year. The interviews were conducted by staff working for both the Republican and democratic sides of the committee, according to the sources, who wish to remain anonymous due to the confidential nature of the Senate investigation.

This is the first time Geovani’s name has been revealed in connection with the various investigations that are underway in Russian influence on US policy, which includes a sweeping new home survey on Trump’s financial interests.

The interest of the Senate Learning Committee in Geovanis suggests that the investigation is hiding further back to Trump’s past in Russia than previously thought.

A businessman, three women and Joseph Stalin

One of the two witnesses says the committee has a photograph of a younger Geovanis who apparently poses in a portrait with three partially dressed women. The portrait, once shown in a Russian gallery entitled “The Capitalist”, depicts the subjects in front of an image of former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. It is not clear whether the portrait is a single photograph or a composite.

The witness told CNN that they were shown the photograph under the question.

 David Geovanis in a portrait with three named women and a picture of Stalin. CNN has blurred women's faces to protect their identity.

A third witness has claimed in written testimony, seen by CNN, that Geovanis can be valuable in mystery if Russia has material on Trump that can be personally embarrassing to him.

Known by the nickname “Geo” to his friends, Geovanis was born in Brockton, Massachusetts, and is a graduate of Trump’s alma mater, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After starting his career in finance, Geovanis went to Moscow to work for a Russian company by a company called Brooke Group, which owned land earmarked for the site of a proposed Trump Tower. When Trump came to town to promote the project, sources say it was Geovani’s job to show him around.

Also on the trip were Brooke Group’s owners, real estate agents Bennett LeBow and Howard Lorber, who continued to become significant donors to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Trump personally acknowledged the couple from the podium after winning the 2016 New York Republican Primary.

An archive film report by Trumps 1996 Moscow Journey came out online at the end of January. The news report – misidentified on YouTube from 1995 – shows Lorber, Lebow and Trump in discussion with Moscow’s then deputy mayor, Vladimir Resin, and his staff, with Geovanis looking from the background.

Blocked figures and dirt on Clinton

Lorber has already been linked to the Senate investigation into Russian mediation in the 2016 election. The New York Times named him earlier this month as one of the Trump family associated with Donald Trump Jr. from blocked numbers around the time for a highly reviewed 2016 meeting at the Trump Tower in New York.

That meeting was attended by Top Trump campaign advisor — Trump Jr., the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Manafort – and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskya, who had promised dirt on Trump’s election opponent, Hillary Clinton. Lorber has not responded to several calls for comments.

 Donald Trump (seated, center) at his 1996 visit in Moscow. To the right are real estate agents Bennett LeBow and Howard Lorber.

When contacted by CNN by telephone, Geovanis refused to comment on his relationship with the president or talk about the photograph being held by the Senate’s intelligence committee. He would not reveal his place, although CNN could confirm that he was in the Moscow area as recently as this month. Asked if he had been contacted by the committee and if he was aware of his interest, Geovanis told CNN that he had “no comment”.

A spokesman for Senate’s Intelligence Committees Republican President, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr refused to comment on Geovanis’ interest in it. A spokesman for the committee’s democratic vice president, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner also refused to comment.

It is not known whether Geovanis is also interested in the investigation of alleged Russian mediation by special councilor Robert Mueller.

The president’s law refused to comment on his relationship with Geovanis. An attorney for the Trump organization also refused to comment.

A tower that was never built

Geovanis was quoted by the Moscontidences in 1996 and said that officials were “very receptive” to the original trump Tower Project, but Trump’s early pattern on the Moscow skyline never fell off the ground.

Discussions two decades later to build another Trump Tower in the Russian capital have been a focus of the Mueller survey.

Trump has often denied that his contacts with Russia continued in the 2016 campaign. Even at the end of 2018, Trump trumped “he never met a single Russian official.”

 Trump (left) is accompanied in Moscow by real estate agent Bennett LeBow (others from the left).

It is not clear what prompted the Senate Simplification Committee’s interest in Geovanis. But several sources familiar with their business tell CNN their inquiries go back to spring last year when it sent him a letter requesting him to provide evidence. The sources say he has not yet done so, but added that he had appointed US legal advisers.

Lebow and Lorber changed their name from Brooke Group to Vector Group, a Nasdaq listed cigarette and real estate company. The vector group’s three largest shareholders are Renaissance technologies, the hedge fund once run by Robert Mercer, the Conservative donor who was once the patron of business and political ventures of Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist.

A Vector spokesperson did not respond to CNN’s emails requesting comments. A fax to BSL Capital, Lebow’s family business, went unanswered, even though an assistant confirmed that it had been received.

Geovanis, who married a Russian woman, received a Russian passport in 2014. He was last seen by family members in the US in early 2017 after his mother’s death.

He is not believed to have returned to the United States since and his decision to remain in Moscow means that US congressional investigators cannot easily find out what he knows.

In 2017, Geovanis was re-employed by Lebow to set up the Russian arm of another company, Somerset Coal International, an energy technology company claiming to “clean” coal by washing it at high pressure.

Among those quoted by Geovanis For Investments, Deripaska, billionaire metals and mining magnates, for which Geovanis worked in the mid-2000s, according to a person familiar with Somerset Coal’s business plan, spoke on terms of anonymity.

Deripaska is so closely aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the US sanctioned him and his company to punish the Russian government for its activities around the 2016 elections. The Trump administration suspended sanctions against three of these companies last month.

A spokesman for Deripaska did not return CNN’s request for comment.

CNN’s Nathan Hodge, Tim Lister, Kara Scannell and Evan Perez contributed to this report.

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