Two senior Trump administration officials were once registered as lobbyists for an investment company controlled by a Soviet-born industrialist who made billions doing business with newly sanctioned Russian oligarchs.
Makan Delrahim is now the assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division in the Department of Justice, after rising from his original appointment as deputy White House counsel and deputy assistant to the president. David Bernhardt is the No. 2 official in Trump’s Department of the Interior.
Both men registered as lobbyists in 2011 and 2012 for Access Industries, a holding company controlled by billionaire Leonard Blavatnik, according to public filings reviewed by VICE News. And though they are far from the only D.C. lobbyists to get plum jobs in the Trump administration, the connection to Blavatnik, long in business with billionaire associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, reveals yet another link between Russia and senior Trump officials.
Blavatnik, 60, is a naturalized dual U.S.-U.K. citizen who owns Warner Music Group. He’s also a longtime donor to both political parties. He gave at least $314,800 in the 2014 midterms, with a slim majority going to the Democratic side. But Blavatnik dramatically ramped up his donations to Republican causes prior to the 2016 U.S. election, according to a review of public filings carried out by Ruth May, a professor at the University of Dallas.
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