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The Donald Trump Jr. Email Scandal Goes Well Beyond Russia

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14.07.2017

All Emin Agalarov ever wanted was fame. Like most pop stars, he sought the largest limelight he could find—in Moscow and St. Petersburg, at the Miss Universe pageant, as a participant in the gaudy spectacle of EuroVision. A sort of Russian Robin Thicke, he surrounded himself with swimsuit models, established a faux-Rat Pack, and even put together a hirsute alter ego. All of it, all of his costumes and crooning, in pursuit of an international audience.

Now, following the release of Donald Trump Jr.’s staggering emails—which show the Trump campaign seeking to contact a “Russian government attorney” for dirt on Hillary Clinton—America has discovered Agalarov. As the emails illustrate, he served as the catalyst for the 2016 get-together between Trump’s team and the Russian lawyer, who according to NBC News was accompanied by a former Soviet intelligence officer. Per the messages, Agalarov encouraged his PR man, Rob Goldstone, to “contact [Trump Jr.] with something very interesting.”

The fallout from Agalarov’s efforts to hook the Trump campaign up with Natalia Veselnitskaya—and, in so doing, spark the first instance of a presidential campaign accepting aid from Moscow—continues to spread, demolishing prior attempts by the Trump campaign to deny that there was any “collusion” with the Kremlin.

But it’s not only that the Trump campaign took the bait from a hostile power. Lost in the controversy surrounding the emails’ release is the fact that the Trump team’s attempted collusion was not instigated by a mere “Russian pop star,” as Agalarov is often described. Rather, Agalarov is also a former member of the first family of Azerbaijan, a man who was once entrenched in one of the most kleptocratic regimes in the world, dominated by a family that shares discomfiting similarities with the current first family in........

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