A congressman who has been criticized for interfering with the investigation of possible connections between President Donald Trump and Russia is in more trouble over a revelation that he also has ties to the nation ruled by Vladimir Putin.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had previously been asked to step down for providing confidential information to Trump. It has since been learned that the California Republican has a large portion of his own resources invested in a company that does direct business with a firm in Russia. The Luding Trading Company serves as the Russian distributor for the Alpha Omega Winery, in which Nunes has an investment of around $50,000.
After this new information received media attention, the California-based winery deleted from its website the name of the Russian company. Alpha Omega claimed that its only dealing with Luding was the one-time sale to the firm of some two dozen cases of wine. On its website, however, the Russian company listed for sale two wines received from Alpha Omega, indicating on ongoing relationship.
Luding also offers a cognac that received its licensing from the government of Russia. A further connection between the company and the Russian government was illustrated by the presentation of The Star of the Fatherland award to the company. Two high-ranking Russian government authorities appeared at the presentation.
Although the relationship between the the congressman, the winery and both the Russian company and government are not in themselves unlawful, the issue would seem to raise further questions about the ability of Nunes to conduct an impartial investigation into what could be illicit activities by the Trump campaign.