The never-ending narrative about Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya has once again taken the spotlight as new information is brought to light that undermines previous reports the Trump Tower meeting was set up to discuss damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
Via newly revealed email correspondence, Veselnitskaya told Fox News on Wednesday that she would have also made contact with Clinton if she thought the Democratic nominee could help do away with the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 sanctions law aimed at top Russian officials.
The Russian lawyer said in a letter translated into English, “I had never been looking for a meeting neither with Trump Jr., nor Sr., nor his team.”
Veselnitskaya further explained that she “had been told” Trump Jr. “could help” bring information to members of Congress about the Magnitsky Act, which Moscow adamantly opposes.
“If Hillary Clinton or anybody from her environment could have been such an individual [to help], I also would have passed that information [to her],” she wrote.
The June 2016 meeting was first reported by The New York Times over the summer, giving new life to the claims that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia in the presidential election.
In the meeting with Don Jr. and the Russian lawyer were Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, both of whom were tied to the Trump campaign at the time. In a statement to the NY Times, Don Jr. admitted to the meeting but said it was about the Magnitsky Act and Americans adopting Russian children. But the NY Times wasn’t buying Don Jr’s explanation, so in the article, the paper continuously mentions that Veselnitskaya has deep ties to the Kremlin and a long history of pushing Putin’s agenda.
Russian-born lobbyist Rinat Ahkmetshin and music publicist Rob Goldstone, who proposed the meeting by promising campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, were also supposedly there.
Veselnitskaya told Fox News on Wednesday that the information being shared in the Trump Tower meeting “was not confidential,” but also “was not public.”
“I wanted to make it public,” Veselnitskaya said in the email. “Because I naively thought there should be justice in the US for the fraudsters fostering hatred between the two of our countries.”
“The suggestion that she would have made contact with Clinton further challenges the notion that the meeting was about anything other than sanctions,” noted the report.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on correspondence between Veselnitskaya and Goldstone, also suggesting the meeting was not set up to pass on damaging information about Clinton on behalf of the Russian government.
The emails show Veselnitskaya requesting to invite Ahkmetshin to the meeting, saying he had “invaluable knowledge about the positions held by the members of the Foreign Relations Committee that will be important to our discussion,” the Journal reported.
Veselnitskaya has consistently countered claims that the meeting was about Clinton. That narrative came about through published correspondence between Trump Jr. and Goldstone.
Goldstone said at the time that he could set up a meeting to provide “very high level and sensitive information” compromising Clinton’s election chances as part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
“If it’s what you say, I love it,” Trump Jr. wrote in response.
It remains unclear as to what exactly Goldstone was referring.
In the fallout, Trump Jr. stated that Veselnitskaya did not have any information about Clinton and wanted to focus on the Russian sanctions.
The emails were released by Scott Balber, an attorney for Aras Agalarov, who helped organize the meeting with Trump Jr.
Balber also told the Journal that the Russian lawyer has been fighting the Magnitsky Act for years and reached out to numerous Russian authorities.
“As part of her effort against the sanctions law, Veselnitskaya reportedly had talking points that included one reference to Clinton, suggesting a U.S. company had avoided taxes in Russia and donated to the Democratic Party, possibly Clinton,” said the report.
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