One of the most interesting and maddening things about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia collusion investigation and report is that it has always felt less than comprehensive. It has been rightly criticized as only lightly touching on the role Hillary Clinton played in hiring Fusion GPS, to name one example.
Now Politico reports there’s a new name added to the mix, discovered as part of an ongoing investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
That name is Walter Soriano, and no one really seems to know much about him.
Two weeks after Mueller filed his report, the Senate Intelligence Committee,”sent a letter to a British security consultant named Walter Soriano asking for a voluntary, closed-door interview and documents with various Russia probe figures dating back to June 2015.”
The panel’s interest in Soriano is not a mere fishing expedition, according to a source familiar with the investigators’ internal deliberations who requested anonymity to discuss them freely.
“They’re surprised by how connected he seems to several people of interest,” this person said, including the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska — a former business associate of Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who offered Deripaska private briefings about the campaign in 2016. Deripaska is believed to have worked with Soriano on corporate intelligence matters, this person said.
The letter, sent on April 5 to Soriano’s London-based security firm USG Security Limited, requested communications or records of communications with some now infamous names such as Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Given Soriano’s reputed connection to Oleg Deripaska and Paul Manafort, that makes him a potential player in the Russia collusion investigation conducted by Mueller, and the subsequent investigation into the investigators by Attorney General William Barr.
Which should be make things interesting since Soriano is “virtually a ghost online,” writes Politico and is reported to have some ties to Israeli firms suspected of having expert-level skills at election gamesmanship (if not outright interference).
One of them, Psy Group, “was enlisted by Trump’s deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates in 2016 to use social media manipulation to help Trump beat his Republican primary opponents and Hillary Clinton,” Politico reports.
Rick Gates, you may remember, was Paul Manafort’s business partner who testified against him in the fraud and conspiracy trial that landed the latter in prison.