In an interview with NBC News, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. during the presidential campaign denied that she had any connection to the Kremlin. She states that she met with Don Jr. to discuss a client regarding a law called the Magnitsky Act — not to provide damning information about Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“I never had any damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton. It was never my intention to have that,” Natalia Veselnitskaya said.
Asked why Don Jr. may have thought that she had information about the Democratic National Committee, she surmised, “It is quite possible that maybe they were longing for such an information. They wanted it so badly that they could only hear the thought that they wanted.”
According to Don Jr. in a statement to the New York Times, he attended “a short introductory meeting” with the lawyer, where the topic of conversation was primarily about adoption, in reference to the Magnitsky Act.
On Monday, the New York Times reported that Don Jr. was told in an email before the meeting that the information Veselnitskaya had was from the Russian government, in its efforts to help his father’s candidacy.
Veselnitskaya stated that she has no connection whatsoever to the Russian government. She further explained that her interests lie only in the the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions on Russian officials accused of human rights violations. The sanctions led to the Kremlin’s decision in 2012 to ban the adoption of Russian children by Americans.
Kremlin officials said on Monday that they don’t even know Veselnitskaya.
Calling the reports “much ado about nothing,” Don Jr.’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, said on Monday “that Don Jr. had no knowledge as to what specific information, if any, would be discussed” in the meeting.
Veselnitskaya was not a government official and had not been a prosecutor since 2001.
“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,” Don 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. https://t.co/ccUjL1KDEa
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 10, 2017
Veselnitskaya said her life has been turned upside down in the wake of the media’s investigation. “Imagine yourself in my shoes. One morning you wake up and all of a sudden you are the focus of all the high ranking, upstream media of the world,” she said.
“To summarize, those were not the happiest days of my life, I have to say. I have to break up my holiday. I have to take a trip back to Moscow, because I just wanted to be able to answer the questions myself.”
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