Magnitsky was the target of investigations, arrested by authorities and kept in jail without charges. He was beaten and later died under mysterious circumstances in jail just days before his possible release.

Independent investigators found “inhuman detention conditions, the isolation from his family, the lack of regular access to his lawyers and the intentional refusal to provide adequate medical assistance resulted in the deliberate infliction of severe pain and suffering, and ultimately his death.”

The Magnitsky Act was signed by President Barack Obama in December 2012 as a retaliation against the human rights abuses suffered by Magnitsky. The law at first blocked 18 Russian government officials and businessmen from entering the United States, froze any assets held by U.S. banks and banned their future use of U.S. banking systems. The act was expanded in 2016, and now sanctions apply to 44 suspected human rights abusers worldwide.

Its official title is a mouthful — the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012. In most news stories and accounts, the shorthand is simply — the Magnitsky Act.

Bill Browder, an American hedge fund manager who hired Magnitsky for the corruption investigation that eventually led to his death, was a central figure in the bill’s passage.

When pressed on the details of his meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr. appeared to downplay its significance by linking it to concerns over an issue that appears uncontroversial on its surface: adoption. But the barring of U.S. adoptions of Russian children is a flash point of tense diplomatic relations and tied directly to the Magnitsky Act.

Two weeks after Obama signed the Magnitsky Act, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill that blocked adoption of Russian children by parents in the United States. Russia then also imposed sanctions on Browder and found Magnitsky posthumously guilty of crimes.

Supporters of the bill at the time cited mistreatment of Russian children by adoptive U.S. parents as the reason for its passage. But it was widely viewed as a retaliatory act, and the issues have been linked since.

Trump Jr. said that despite assurances that Veselnitskaya would come bearing incriminating information about Hillary Clinton in their 2016 meeting, the topic quickly shifted to the Magnitsky Act and U.S. adoptions from Russia.

Browder described Veselnitskaya in an NPR interview as a longtime foil to him in her efforts to repeal the Magnitsky Act. She represents a member of the Katsyv family, whose company is under investigation by the Justice Department in connection with the laundering of real estate money in New York. Denis Katsyv has lobbied to overturn Magnitsky and to end Russia’s American adoption ban.

–Alex Horton, The Magnitsky Act, Explained

 

Big Ideas, Bad Ideas

From the Department of Big, Bold Ideas: Imagine an impenetrable cyber security unit tasked with safeguarding democratic institutions against the threats of politically motivated hacking. Now envision this as a partnership between two countries with a vast trove of resources and the undeniable ability to influence events on the world stage. This would be a powerful alliance — were the suggested alliance not between the United States and Russia.

* * *

Has the new civil war started yet, or…? If there’s one hiccup in the not-so-secret hopes of the nattering nutcases of nationalism, it’s that the second civil war they’ve been gunning for since they first scored a tattered copy of The Turner Diaries stubbornly refuses to start on their timeline. No matter. Their thinking seems to be if they talk up the worldview that it’s already begun, or is about to begin, and pepper their formentations with ahistorical references to burning down the Bastille, their words will become bullet-riddled flesh. How did the French Revolution eventually pan out for the revolutionaries, anyway? My American public school education precludes me from knowing the answer to that question.

(Year Zero/One Hundred and Seventy-One)

Senate Slowdown Monday, No Recess For Poor Performers, And More

If Senate Republicans insist on working on their health care bill in secret, Democrats will do everything in their power to protest this turn of events. Their limited, limited power…

Democrats can grind the Senate to a virtual halt, and that’s what they plan to do beginning Monday afternoon as they protest the GOP secretive push to revamp the nation’s health-care system.

Under the direction of Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Democrats will begin using parliamentary tactics to disrupt the ordinary business of the Senate, including blocking requests for unanimous consent to consider nominees and legislation and preventing committees from holding hearings that last longer than two hours. In the evening, Democratic senators will hold the floor to deliver speeches assailing Republicans for writing and debating their health-care bill behind closed doors.

Having accomplished little of value so far this year, Congress is considering cancelling its August recess.

Remember when liberals pinned their hopes on Ivanka’s moderating influence on her father because she’s a decent human being or something? LOL.

The only way to get the president to care about HIV is to temporarily rename the virus ‘Donald Trump’.

Have you ever wondered what anarchists will admit in private but never publically repeat?

Hail Satan.

Your monthly reminder from The Intercept to wet yourself in fear:

Indeed we should be prepared for security shocks to be exploited as excuses to increase the rounding up and incarceration of large numbers of people from the communities this administration is already targeting: Latino immigrants, Muslims, Black Lives Matter organizers, climate activists, investigative journalists. It’s all possible. And in the name of freeing the hands of law enforcement to fight terrorism, Attorney General Jeff Sessions would have the excuse he’d been looking for to do away with federal oversight of state and local police, especially those that have been accused of systemic racial abuses.

And there is no doubt that the president would seize on any domestic terrorist attack to blame the courts. He made this perfectly clear when he tweeted, after his first travel ban was struck down: “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system.” And on the night of the London Bridge attack, he went even further, tweeting: “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” In a context of public hysteria and recrimination that would surely follow an attack in the U.S., the kind of courage we witnessed from the courts in response to Trump’s travel bans might well be in shorter supply.

And now for some news that has nothing to do with America:

An orthodox priest allied with Vladimir Putin has a very special message about beard care. The Kremlin, meanwhile, has been dealing with the first concerted anti-corruption protests in five years.

Tunisia’s national railway has opened an investigation into whether a hungry conductor stopped his train to buy peaches.

China’s supercomputers are still super.

The Macaroon made out well in France’s parliamentary elections, though turnout was lower than the presidential elections now that the spectre of Lady Hitler has been vanquished.

It’s day one hundred and fifty-one in Donald Trump’s America…

Would He Lie To You?

No. A man of Jeff Sessions’ honor would never lie under oath to Congress. Only a naif or a fraudster would impugn… wait a gol-darn minute, what’s this?

Sessions testified under oath on Tuesday that he did not believe he had any contacts with lobbyists working for Russian interests over the course of Trump’s campaign. But Richard Burt, a former ambassador to Germany during the Reagan administration, who has represented Russian interests in Washington, told the Guardian that he could confirm previous media reports that stated he had contacts with Sessions at the time.

“I did attend two dinners with groups of former Republican foreign policy officials and Senator Sessions,” Burt said.

If Sessions’ integrity is on an unstable foundation, what hope is there for the rest of the administration?