The Russian lawyer at the center of the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, has told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Donald Trump Jr. asked her for evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation, according to a NBC News report by Ken Dilanian and Natasha Lebedeva.
“The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told the committee that she didn’t have any such evidence, and that she believes Trump misunderstood the nature of the meeting after receiving emails from a music promoter promising incriminating information on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent,” the NBC report said.
In Veselnitskaya’s telling, the meeting was to be about the Magnitsky Act, an American law which imposed sanctions on Russia. Russia responded by banning U.S. adoptions of Russian children.
Trump Jr. initially issued a statement saying the meeting was primarily about adoption. A day later, as scrutiny around the meeting intensified, he issued a new statement that acknowledged that the meeting was initially set up by Rob Goldstone, an acquaintance of Trump Jr., with the expectation that incriminating information about Hillary Clinton would be provided courtesy of the Russian government.
Goldstone’s connection to Trump dates back to the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow. Among Goldstone’s clients is Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop-star and son of Aras Agalarov, the Russian billionaire who partnered with Trump to bring the Miss Universe Contest to Moscow.
Goldstone emailed Trump Jr. that a Russian official met with Emin’s father Aras Agalarov and offered to provide “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton].” Trump responded, “if it’s what you say I love it.”
Veselnitskaya contends that a series of miscommunications resulted in conflicting understandings of the purpose of the meeting. “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 written responses to the Committee. “The answer lies in the roguish letters of Mr. Goldstone.”
This latest information provides further support for Trump’s latter account. It also lends support to some intriguing theories about what exactly that Trump Tower meeting was really about, which we intend to address in a future article.