UPDATE: When Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya met with Don Trump Jr. at Trump Tower in 2016, she brought with her a former Soviet counterintelligence officer, NBC News reported.
The gentleman who attended the June 2016 meeting with Don Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort is a Russian-born American lobbyist who also served in the Soviet military. The Associated Press has identified the lobbyist as Rinat Akhmetshin. However, they did not immediately report any ties with Soviet counterintelligence.
He denies current ties to any Russian intelligence agencies, though some U.S. officials suspect otherwise, NBC said.
Akhmetshin told the AP the meeting was “not substantive” and he “actually expected more serious” discussion.
“I never thought this would be such a big deal to be honest,” he told AP.
During her June 9, 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr., former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and now-White House adviser Jared Kushner, Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya was accompanied by a Russian-American lobbyist believed to have former connections in Russian intelligence spy operations.
In an interview with NBC News, Veselnitskaya revealed that someone else accompanied her to the meeting, during which she reneged on the premise of providing opposition research on Hillary Clinton and instead addressed U.S. policy as it relates to the adoption of children from Russia. Veselnitskaya did not name the person in question.
According to NBC, the other person present, who the network did not name, denied to the news organization that he had ongoing ties to Moscow’s intelligence network.
The attendance of the unnamed person at the meeting was not disclosed by former Trump campaign officials or the administration.
The Justice Department under former President Barack Obama allowed Veselnitskaya to enter the U.S. without a visa, permitting her to lobby President Trump’s campaign officials and others in Washington in 2016.
The department cleared Veselnitskaya under “extraordinary circumstances,” though her motives for coming to the U.S. are now under scrutiny.
Veselnitskaya was allowed into the U.S. via a legal loophole, permitting her to accompany a colleague who was testifying in a House committee hearing regarding Russian policy.
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