Donald Trump Jr. Met with Russian Lawyer – Updated

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The Straight Scoop:

  • On June 9th, 2016, shortly after Donald Trump won the Republican nomination, his son, Donald Trump, Jr., along with Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, met with Russian lawyer, Ms. Natalia Veselnitskaya, to discuss possibly damaging information related to Hillary Clinton. The meeting was confirmed by Donald Trump, Jr., Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner., who voluntarily disclosed the meeting to the federal government.
  • The meeting was prompted by an email Donald Trump, Jr. received from an acquaintance of his, Robert Goldstone, who wrote “The Crown prosecutor of Russia…offered to provide the campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia…This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
  • In a statement, Donald Trump Jr. said: “the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information. She then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act. It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting.”
  • The Russian lawyer, Ms. Veselnitskaya, said “Nothing at all was discussed about the presidential campaign…I have never acted on behalf of the Russian government and have never discussed any of these matters with any representative of the Russian government.” The short meeting focused on the Magnitsky Act (a US law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers) and the adoption issue.

Sources: NY Times, Associated Press

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The Left Spin

  • “Borders on treason”: George W. Bush’s former ethics lawyer blasts Trump Jr.’s Russia meeting (Vox)
  • Trump administration: There’s no evidence of collusion. 12 legal experts: Yes, there is. (Vox)
  • Don Trump Jr.’s Emails Are the Smoking Gun (Slate.com)
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The Right Spin

  • New York Times Has Neither Seen Nor Read ‘Russia Email’ to Donald Trump, Jr. (Breitbart)
  • Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. denies Kremlin connection
    (Fox News)
  • Bill O’Reilly: Trump Jr. should have admitted Russian meeting 3 months ago
    (The Blaze)

More Straight Scoop

  • Mr. Goldstone, who suggested the meeting and also attended it said she provided “just a vague, generic statement about the campaign’s funding and how people, including Russian people, living all over the world donate when they shouldn’t donate…It was the most inane nonsense I’ve ever heard.”
  • Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted “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.”
  • White House, Deputy Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said “the president’s campaign did not collude in any way. Don Jr. did not collude with anybody to influence the election. No one within the Trump campaign colluded in order to influence the election.”
  • Neither Donald Trump, Jr., Mr. Kushner, nor Mr. Manafort was required to disclose the content of the meeting in their government filings.
  • Donald Trump, Jr. has not been contacted by any congressional panel or Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, but has offered his testimony.
  • Donald Trump Jr. has retained a criminal defense lawyer, New York-based Alan S. Futerfas
  • Donald Trump Jr.’s full statement: “I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign. I was not told her name prior to the meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to attend, but told them nothing of the substance. We had a meeting in June 2016. After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information. She then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act. It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting. I interrupted and advised her that my father was not an elected official, but rather a private citizen, and that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office. The meeting lasted approximately 20 to 30 minutes. As it ended, my acquaintance apologized for taking up our time. That was the end of it and there was no further contact or follow-up of any kind. My father knew nothing of the meeting or these events.
  • Donald Trump Jr. released the full email chain: part 1, part 2
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