Donald Trump Jr. was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton during pre-election meeting with Russian lawye
Source: Daily News- Just two weeks after his father clinched the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer who promised him damaging information about rival candidate Hillary Clinton, according to a report.
Trump, the President’s oldest son, who is now running the mogul’s real estate conglomerate, met with the Russian attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, according to The New York Times.
He said in a statement that he agreed to the meeting at the behest of an acquaintance he knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, a contest his father used to run. Trump said he was not told the lawyer’s name before the meeting but was advised she might have information “helpful to the campaign.”
“After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton,” Trump said in the statement. “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.”
Trump said the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was at the meeting, as well as then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Trump said he asked the two advisers to attend, but told them nothing of the substance of the meeting in advance.
An Associated Press story from June 9, 2016, placed candidate Trump in the building that day. It says he was fund-raising for the general election and makes no mention of a meeting with the Russian lawyer.
“My father knew nothing of the meeting or these events,” his son said Sunday in his statement.
The younger Trump’s explanation of the meeting was different from how he first described it, according to The Times. He first said the meeting was a discussion about the adoption of Russian children, and he made no mention of the Clinton campaign until his second statement.
Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the President’s outside legal counsel, said the meeting might have been a setup.
“We have learned from both our own investigation and public reports that the participants in the meeting misrepresented who they were and who they worked for,” Corallo said. “These developments raise serious issues as to exactly who authorized and participated in any effort by Russian nationals to influence our election in any manner.”
Trump said it didn’t take long for the real reason for the meeting to emerge. He said Veselnitskaya pressed him about the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers.
The law had enraged Russian President Vladimir Putin so much that he retaliated by halting American adoptions of Russian children.
“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,” Trump said. “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.”
Trump characterized the meeting as unproductive.
“The meeting lasted approximately 20 to 30 minutes,” he said. “As it ended, my acquaintance apologized for taking up our time. That was the end of it, and there was no further contact or followup of any kind.”
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said he didn’t know much about the meeting when asked about it on “Fox News Sunday.”
“It was a very short meeting,” Priebus said. “It was a meeting apparently about Russian adoption.”
Veselnitskaya told The Times that “nothing at all about the presidential campaign” was discussed. She said she had “never acted on behalf of the Russian government” and “never discussed any of these matters with any representative of the Russian government.”
News of the meeting with the Russian lawyer was disclosed in revised documentation Kushner submitted to obtain a security clearance for his White House job as a senior adviser to the President, according to his lawyer, Jamie Gorelick.
The forms Kushner initially filed did not list any contacts with foreign government officials, said Gorelick, who called the omissions “an error.”
“He has since submitted this information, including that during the campaign and transition, he had over 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries, most of which were during transition,” Gorelick said. “Mr. Kushner has submitted additional updates and included, out of an abundance of caution, this meeting with a Russian person, which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law Donald Trump Jr.”
Manafort worked as an international consultant for Ukraine’s pro-Russian government led by Viktor Yanukovych, who was chased out of office amid corruption allegations in 2014. His name was discovered listed on a handwritten invoice describing a roster of covert payouts, including one for $12.7 million to Manafort himself. Manafort’s lawyer has denied that he received any such payments.
Manafort, who worked for the Trump campaign from March to August 2016, resigned after reports surfaced that he spearheaded a behind-the-scenes Washington lobbying campaign on behalf of Yanukovych.