Richard Burt

Richard Burt

Key to the Mayflower Affair

Speechwriter for Trump on April 27, 2016, Lobbyist for Gazprom, Consultant for Jeff Sessions on the National Security Committee, former Reagan State Department official and U.S. ambassador to Germany @SethAbramson Tweet (24) “Richard BURT has also served on the Senior Advisory Board of a major Russian bank—ALFA BANK—key to this story and the STEELE dossier.”

This was published on October 7, 2016, in Politico Lobbyist advised Trump campaign while promoting Russian pipeline Richard Burt helped shape the candidate’s first foreign-policy speech while lobbying on behalf of a Moscow-controlled gas company. ”

Burt’s lobbying work for New European Pipeline AG, the company behind the pipeline known as Nord Stream II, began in February. At the time, the Russian state-owned oil giantGazprom owned a 50 percent stake in New European Pipeline AG. In August, five European partners pulled out and Gazprom now owns 100 percent.

This spring, Burt helped shape Trump’s first major foreign policy address, according to Burt and other sources. Burt recommended that Trump take a more “realist,” less interventionist approach to world affairs, as first reported by Reuters. Trump’s April 27 speech sounded those themes and called for greater cooperation with Russia.

“I believe an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia — from a position of strength — is possible,” Trump said in the speech. “Common sense says this cycle of hostility must end. Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out.” The Russian ambassador to the United States broke the diplomatic norm against attending campaign events to sit in the front row.

In addition to helping shape Trump’s speech, Burt attended two dinners this summer hosted by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who had been named chairman of Trump’s national security committee. Burt was invited to discuss issues of national security and foreign policy, and wrote white papers for Sessions on the same subjects, according to Burt and another person with knowledge of the situation.

According to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, one of the papers was about “key foreign policy themes” and another was about “national security decision-making and structure; relationships between Defense, State, [the National Security Council] and so on and how to sort of think about the transition.” According to a second person with knowledge of the situation, Sessions was “very impressed” with the latter paper. A spokesman for Sessions did not respond to a request for comment.

All the while, Burt continued to be paid for his Nord Stream II lobbying work, which is ongoing. Asked about the simultaneous lobbying and advising, both sides downplayed the relationship.