Donald Trump Jr. and Kushner Met With Russian Lawyer During Campaign
Jul 10, 2017, 00:25
Two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump won the Republican nomination past year, his eldest son Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting with a Russian lawyer who has connections to the Kremlin.
This is "the first confirmed private meeting between a Russian national and members of Mr. Trump's inner circle during the campaign", as The New York Times observed, and all three USA principals confirmed, through spokespersons, that the meeting took place but that the meeting's subject matter was unrelated to the campaign.
The New York Times detailed a meeting at Trump Tower attended by Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer, Mr Trump's eldest son, Donald Junior, Jared Kushner, his son in law and Paul Manafort, his campaign manager at the time.
It is that law that has been reviled by Putin and his allies in Russian Federation and which came up in the meeting between Veselnitskaya and Donald Trump Jr., according to the lawyers.
Donald Trump Jr said: "It was a short introductory meeting".
Then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort also attended, according to the statement from Donald Trump Jr.
Moreover, officials of Trump Jr. and Kushner confirmed the meeting, in which the former described the meeting as primarily about an adoption program.
Kushner disclosed the meeting with the Russian lawyer in revised documentation that he submitted to obtain a security clearance for his White House job as a senior adviser to the President, his lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said in a statement.
President Vladimir Putin suspended the adoption programme in 2012 after the US Congress voted in a law to allow the US to withhold visas and freeze financial assets of Russian officials thought to have been involved with human rights violations.
The meeting is thought to have been arranged by Mr Trump's son, Donald Jr.
A spokesman for the President's legal team told CNN the meeting could have been an effort to create an appearance of inappropriate connections between Trump family members and Russian Federation.
"Russia suspended the adoptions as leverage to end United States human rights sanctions", he said.
The Washington Examinerreported that, according to a statement issued by Mar Corallo, an outside counsel to the president, not only did Veselnitskaya misrepresent herself, but the meeting may have been the result of a setup by the Democratic Party. Magnitsky died in a Russian prison under mysterious circumstances in 2009 after exposing a corruption scandal.
Veselnitskaya, who is married to a former deputy transportation minister and counts state-owned businesses as clients, had previously come on the radar of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to The Times.
The meeting was not disclosed until Kushner filed an updated request for national security clearance following an earlier report that he had failed to disclose other contacts with Russian officials in his original request. Trump and other Republicans have claimed the alleged meddling did not affect the election's outcome.
Mr Trump's close allies said the meeting with Ms Veselnitskaya was not related to the election campaign.
The adoption issue is frequently used as a talking point by opponents of the Magnitsky Act, said William Browder, an American financier who worked in Russian Federation and lobbied for the sanctions, which are named for a former auditor he employed, Sergei Magnitsky.
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