Litman: Are Jan. 6 investigators hot on the trail of ‘all the president’s people’?
The New York Times has reported the arrest of at least one other high-level Russian official. The arrest of Vladimir Ivanov, a former deputy prime minister, and the arrest of Yevgeny Volkov, the deputy head of the Russian parliament’s domestic security committee, are likely the first major Russian arrests in the federal probe. The two were indicted on charges of providing political and economic support to the United States during the presidential transition. The Times cited sources saying that one of the officials was close to former Vice President Richard Cheney. This makes Ivanov’s arrest particularly noteworthy because it may be the case that Ivanov, a close confidant of the Vice President, has been involved in the administration’s effort to coordinate the political and economic aspects of U.S.-Russia relations. According to the Times, Ivanov has been a “point man” of the relationship between Cheney and President-elect Vladimir Putin. According to The Times, Ivanov was a member of the elite Russian-American Chamber of Commerce and was “a member of Putin’s inner circle.” Ivanov was also a member of the board of directors of Kommersant, Russia’s largest independent newspaper. According to sources cited by the Times, Ivanov and Volkov are believed to have been the masterminds of a lobbying effort, which has included the lobbying of leading Western investment firms. According to The Times, Ivanov was also known as a strong critic of Russian policy in Chechnya and was a key member of the country’s pro-Chechen “rebel” factions. It was also reported that Volkov was known as a defender of Putin’s close relations with US President-elect George W. Bush. These developments raise the question of how the Russian government intends to deal with the implications of such close ties between the new administration and the Russian leadership.
President-elect Bush made no public comment about the arrests and their connection to the White House. However, Bush’s Chief of Staff Andy Card