Trump Jr met with Russian lawyer after being promised damaging Clinton info
- Author: Rogelio Becker Jul 10, 2017,
Jul 10, 2017, 0:26
The outlet also reported that the president's legal team believe the meeting may have been part of an election-year opposition effort to create the appearance of "improper connections" between Trump and Russian Federation.
The confab - attended by Trump's then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and son-in-law Jared Kushner - marks the first confirmed sitdown between a Russian national and the President's inner circle during the campaign, according to the report in the New York Times.
The president's legal team said Saturday they believe the entire meeting may have been part of a larger election-year opposition effort aimed at creating the appearance of improper connections between Trump family members and Russian Federation that also included a now-discredited intelligence dossier produced by a former British intelligence agent named Christopher Steele who worked for a US political firm known as Fusion GPS. Trump Jr. characterized it as a "short introductory meeting" and said they primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children which was ended by the Russian government.
It also comes in the wake of President Trump's first face-to-face encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who stands accused of meddling in the 2016 general election.
The lawyer the three men met with was Natalia Veselnitskaya, who has spent considerable time fighting against the Magnitsky Act of 2012; a law meant to punish Russian operatives believed to be responsible for or involved in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died in prison after uncovering Russian corruption. Trump Jr. defended the summit, which he said focused on Russian child adoption policies. With him was Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort.
According to the publication, Trump Jr. also said that he had been invited to a meeting through acquaintances and he did not know the name of the person with whom he was going to talk with. The President's son said it was primarily about an adoption programme.
"It was not a campaign issue at that time and there was no follow up", he said.
Russian Federation ended the adoptions in response to American sanctions brought against the nation after the 2009 death of an imprisoned lawyer who spoke about a corruption scandal.
Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin, amid accusations from USA intelligence that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a sweeping campaign to tilt the vote in the Republican's favor.
Veselnitskaya is identified in court documents as a former Russian prosecutor and private lawyer in Moscow who had been representing the Russian businessman Denis Katsyv and his Prevezon Holdings, against a U.S. Department of Justice a civil asset forfeiture case.
In a meeting that ran longer than either side had planned, Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin discussed alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election on Friday but agreed to focus on better ties rather than litigating the past.
An attorney for Kushner, Jamie Gorelick, issued a statement emphasizing that the meeting had been disclosed earlier by Kushner.
In May, The New York Times reported that Kushner faced scrutiny in the F.B.I. probe into Russian hacking of the 2016 election.