Shortly before his father was formally nominated for president last summer, Donald Trump Jr. was approached by a Russian lawyer who set up a meeting to discuss a Russian policy, according to interviews with Trump family lawyers.
President Trump’s eldest son briefly gathered others for the meeting, including his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as then-presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort for the meeting at Trump Tower in New York City with the lawyer, identified by Trump family lawyers as Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Veselnitskaya used the meeting in June 2016 to have a conversation about a U.S. law called the Magnitsky Act that Russia leader Vladimir Putin reviles and has retaliated against by blocking U.S. adoptions of Russian children.
Donald Trump Jr. gathered members of campaign for meeting with Russian lawyer
The encounter was short and the Trump team had no further contact with the woman or the policy issue, lawyers said.
The meeting was recently disclosed to congressional investigators by one of the attendees, according to sources directly familiar with the disclosure.
President Trump was not aware of the meeting and did not attend it, according to the lawyers. A translator and an American businessman working for a pro-Russian business lobby also attended the meeting, which lasted about 20 minutes, according to the interviews.
The president’s legal team said Saturday they believe the entire meeting may have been part of a larger election-year opposition effort aimed at creating the appearance of improper connections between Trump family members and Russia that also included a now-discredited intelligence dossier produced by a former British intelligence agent named Christopher Steele who worked for a U.S. political firm known as Fusion GPS.
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“We have learned from both our own investigation and public reports that the participants in the meeting misrepresented who they were and who they worked for,” said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for President Trump’s legal team. “Specifically, we have learned that the person who sought the meeting is associated with Fusion GPS, a firm which according to public reports, was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the President and which commissioned the phony...
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