Russian Lawyer in New Trump Collusion Claim Breaks Silence
July 11, 2017
(WASHINGTON, DC) According to the New York Times, Donald Trump, Jr. was invited to meet with Veselnitskaya on June 9, 2016 because she had promised him that she would reveal information that might hurt Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Trump Jr. admitted that he sought the information, but claimed he did not know of Ms. Veselnitskaya’s connections to the Russian government prior to the meeting.
However, it is now being reported that Trump Jr. was told in an email before the meeting was arranged that the Russian government was behind the damaging information, according to three unnamed New York Times sources with knowledge of the email.
The email was allegedly sent by Rob Goldstone, a British reporter who helped Trump Jr. arrange the meeting back in June. According to the three sources, the email indicates that the damaging Clinton information came from the Russian government but does not indicate if they procured the information from the Democratic National Committee hack.
“Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent… went nowhere but had to listen,” Trump Jr. previously wrote in one tweet about the meeting.
“No inconsistency in statements, meeting ended up being primarily about adoptions,” he said in another tweet, backing up claims he had made that his meeting with Veselnitskaya centered on Russian adoptions. “In response to further Q’s I simply provided more details.”
On Tuesday Ms. Veselnitskaya denied having any ties with the Kremlin during an interview with NBC News foreign correspondent Keri Simmons in Moscow, and said she attended the June 9th meeting with Donald Trump Jr. to discuss U.S. sanctions on Russian officials, not to share damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
“I never had any damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton,” Natalia Veselnitskaya told NBC News in an interview in Moscow. “It was never my intention to have that.”
Ms. Veselnitskaya told NBC News she did not know Paul Manafort or Jared Kushner were going to attend her Trump Tower meeting with the President’s son on June 9th 2016, nor did she recognize them at the time.
“I could recognize the young gentleman who was only present in the meeting for probably the first seven to 10 minutes, and then he stood up and left the room,” Ms. Veselnitskaya told NBC News. “It was Mr. Jared Kushner. And he never came back, by the way.
“And the other individual who was in the same meeting, but all the time he was looking at his phone,” Mrs. Veselnitskaya added. “He was reading something. He never took any active part in the conversation. That was Mr. Manafort.”
According to NBC News, Ms. Veselnitskaya later described Mr. Manafort as “absent-minded” midway through the interview in a yet to be released segment.
Ms. Veselnitskaya said the meeting lasted between 20 and 30 minutes, and neither Mr. Manafort nor Mr. Kushner took an active part in the conversation.
Goldstone, who allegedly wrote the email to Trump Jr., also denied knowing if the Russian government had anything to do with the information. Interestingly, one of NYT’s sources said it appeared that Goldstone was simply passing along information he had been given by others.
Further attempts by the NYT to reach Goldstone were unsuccessful, leaving questions as to how Goldstone would have authored an email without fully reading or understanding its contents.