CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Lobbyist Advised Trump, Promoted Russian Pipeline

The lobbyist who helped shape Donald Trump’s first major foreign-policy speech in April was at the same time being paid to promote a natural-gas pipeline to be controlled by the Russian government—one of Vladimir Putin’s top priorities. Politico reports Richard Burt, a former Reagan administration official, got $365,000 to lobby for the natural-gas pipeline, which would be owned by a firm operated by the Russian government. The pipeline—which would reach Western and Central Europe while avoiding Ukraine—has been opposed by the Obama administration, as well as the Polish government. Burt was also working on Trump’s policy speech, given April 27, that encouraged an “easing of tensions” with Russia. “Common sense says this cycle of hostility must end,” he said at the time. “Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out.”