In an explosive ABC News report that is still breaking, we learned tonight that the same law firm who wrote a letter on behalf of Trump claiming he had no meaningful of significant business connections to Russia does, in fact, have their own deep ties to Russia.
ABC reports they even received the “Russia Law Firm of the Year” award in 2016.
The law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, has been employed by Donald Trump and the larger Trump Organization since 2005. Two members of that firm, Sheri Dillon and William Nelson, penned a letter that was released by the White House in March of this year claiming that the past ten years of Trump tax returns reveal there no ties to Russia save for “a few exceptions.”
ABC continues: “In 2016, however, Chambers & Partners, a London-based legal research publication, named the firm ‘Russia Law Firm of the Year’ at its annual awards dinner. The firm celebrated the “prestigious honor’ in a press release on its website, noting that the award is ‘the latest honor for the high-profile work performed by the lawyers in Morgan Lewis’ Moscow office.’
According to the firm’s website, its Moscow office includes more than 40 lawyers and staff who are ‘well known in the Russian market, and have a deep familiarity with the local legislation, practices, and key players.’ The firm boasts of being ‘particularly adept’ at advising clients on ‘sanction matters.’ “
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy learned of the revelation of the law firm’s close ties to Russia and said it was “unreal.”
Others now point out that Dillion and Nelson’s letter was pointless and meaningless.
Washington tax expert Jack Blum, who specializes in white-collar financial crime and international tax evasion, spoke with ABC News about the letter: “Blum told ABC News that real estate projects, in particular, can be structured with partners and subsidiaries so that it would be easy to shield the identity of all involved. Trump’s tax returns would not show where all the money came from to finance these projects, he said.
“There’s no substance to it. The letter is just another puff of smoke,” Blum said. “It has no meaning at all. It’s just another way to not answer the question.”