Donald Trump Jr. Wanted Info From Russian Lawyer On Potentially Illegal Clinton Foundation Donations
During the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, Donald Trump Jr. reportedly asked a Russian lawyer whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation.
The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she believes Donald Trump Jr. misunderstood the nature of the meeting she now wishes had never happened, reports NBC News.
Trump Jr. received emails from music promoter Rob Goldstone who works for Russian oligarchical family, the Agalarovs. Along with having business and social ties to the Trump family, the Agalarovs are also connected to the Kremlin. When Goldstone's emails promised incriminating information on Hillary Clinton, a meeting on behalf of the Agalarovs was arranged. In these same emails, Veselnitskaya was described by Goldstone as a "Russian government lawyer" who had dirt on Clinton in conjunction with a Russian government effort to help Trump. Goldstone has since admitted that he was exaggerating.
"Today, I understand why it took place to begin with and why it ended so quickly with a feeling of mutual disappointment and time wasted," Veselnitskaya wrote in her 51-page statement to the committee. "The answer lies in the roguish letters of Mr. Goldstone." She goes on to say that once it became clear that she did not have consequential information about Clinton, Trump Jr. appeared to lose interest.
Veselnitskaya asserts that she did not work for the Russian government and was not carrying any messages from government officials. She also claims that there was no discussion of hacked or leaked emails, social media campaigns, or other forms of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election at the Trump Tower meeting.
The key takeaway that is not new information is the reinforcing of Donald Trump Jr.'s motive in agreeing to the Trump Tower meeting, which was also attended by President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort. He accepted it under the auspices of getting incriminating information about Clinton, assuming it was coming from the Russian government. According to Veselnitskaya's written answers, Trump Jr. asked directly whether she had the information.
The Trump Tower meeting continues to be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller as well as the House and Senate investigating committees. Veselnitskaya insists that they will not find anything new.