Stop me if you've heard this one: A Russian operative with ties to Donald Trump dies.
It's hard out there for a potentially compromising conduit between Trump and Vladmir Putin.
This one strikes particularly close to home. Alex Oronov was found dead, according to a Facebook post by Andrii Artemenko, an Ukrainian MP. Oronov was apparently quite successful in agribusiness. He had an interest in an ethanol business set up by Michael and Bryan Cohen in the Ukraine. Michael Cohen is Donald Trump's attorney. Bryan, in addition to being Michael's brother, is Oronov's son-in-law. With Artemenko and others, Oronov had organized a "peace plan," which was described by The New York Times as a back-channel opportunity for the Trump administration:
Mr. Flynn is gone, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Mr. Trump has confounded Democrats and Republicans alike with his repeated praise for the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, and his desire to forge an American-Russian alliance. While there is nothing illegal about such unofficial efforts, a proposal that seems to tip toward Russian interests may set off alarms.
But the proposal contains more than just a peace plan. Andrii V. Artemenko, the Ukrainian lawmaker, who sees himself as a Trump-style leader of a future Ukraine, claims to have evidence — “names of companies, wire transfers” — showing corruption by the Ukrainian president, Petro O. Poroshenko, that could help oust him. And Mr. Artemenko said he had received encouragement for his plans from top aides to Mr. Putin.↓ Story continues below ↓
“A lot of people will call me a Russian agent, a U.S. agent, a C.I.A. agent,” Mr. Artemenko said. “But how can you find a good solution between our countries if we do not talk?”
Oh yeah, I'm sure this is completely altruistic on the part of Artemenko.
Artemenko's announcement of Oronov's passing does not include a cause of death (as best as I can tell from Facebook's translation app), but does point a finger at the stress brought on by The New York Times article to being too much for Oronov to bear. I'm sure it could be natural causes, but there is a disturbingly significant number of suspicious deaths surrounding Trump and Putin. And remember, even if the official cause of death is something like a heart attack, that doesn't mean his head wasn't bashed in.
Because that's the kind of thing that happens in Soviet....er, Trump's America.