On Sunday morning’s talk shows, including Fahreed Zakaria’s, there was talk about the magnitsky Act (although it was mispronounced by several speakers.)

It becomes clear from this explanation by the Washington Post that the meeting that Donald Trump, Jr., took part in was probably an attempt to influence the Trump adminisration to revoke this act, which has particularly irked Vladimir Putin. It became law under Obama and it keeps the world’s richest man (Putin is worth something like $26 billion) from using ill-gotten gains not only in this country, but in countries in Europe, etc. In other words, it would be tantamount to bank robbers having no way to launder their take.

The Ruissian oligarchs have been very adamant about getting this act reversed, so that they can spend their money abroad. (“Follow the money,” as the old saying goes).

Here is wht the act did:

The law

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.
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Bill Browder was a guest on Fahreed Zakaria’s Sunday morning 350 program and spoke eloquently about the act and the fact that his life is currently in danger from the Russians who have openly expressed the wish that he be dead.

This meeting of the Trump team was, in all likelihood, a tit-for-tat promise: you help us get rid of the Maginsky Act and we’ll help your candidate get elected.

And they did.