The Russian lawyer who met with Trump Campaign officials in the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower “adoption” meeting has admitted close ties to the Kremlin. Natalia Veselnitskaya, who has previously claimed she was merely a private lawyer, now calls herself a Russian informant.
From The Hill
And in an interview set to be broadcast by NBC News on Friday, Veselnitskaya calls herself an “informant” for the Russian government, an admission that goes further than her previous claims of just being a private attorney.
“I am a lawyer, and I am an informant,” she says in the NBC interview. “Since 2013, I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general.”
The admission also comes despite testimony Veselnitskaya submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee in November, in which she claimed no connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government.
“I operate independently of any governmental bodies,” she wrote in November. “I have no relationship with Mr. Chaika, his representatives and his institutions other than those related to my professional functions as a lawyer.”
Yuri Chaika is the current Prosecutor General of Russia and references to “a Crown Prosecutor” in the email chain regarding the meeting and released more than a year later are thought to mean Chaika. Veselnitskaya now admits to being an informant for Chaika.
The Trump Tower meeting was attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. Also in attendance were Natalia Veselnitskaya, Rinat Akhmetshin (a former Soviet counterintelligence officer), Rob Goldstone (the publicist of Emin Agalarov), Ike Kaveladze (senior vice president at Crocus Group, the real estate development company run by Aras Agalarov), and Anatoli Samochornov (translator for Natalia).
The meeting was not made public until July of 2017, after Kushner reported the meeting with Veselnitskaya in a revised security clearance form. The Trump Campaign subsequently offered evolving accounts of the meeting and the participants, initially saying it was a meeting about Russian adoptions, then eventually admitting it the purpose was to be given incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.
Why It Matters
The July 8, 2017 dissembling statement given by Donnie Jr was personally written by Donald Trump on Air Force One and the whole affair is being closely looked at by Special Counsel Mueller in the Russia Investigation. If the meeting was innocent, and with Veselnitskaya’s admission that seems unlikely, the participants have certainly acted as if they had something to hide. President Trump penning a statement which lied about a meeting with Russian foreign operatives while being under investigation for his contacts with Russia could very well be obstruction of justice.
The suspicion has long been that the meeting was arranged by Chaika, on behalf of Putin, and was actually about ending Russian sanctions. The truth of whatever happened at that meeting is the crux of the Russia probe. Every American should be very curious as to exactly what occurred on June 9th, 2016, how much the President knew about it, and why it needed to be covered up.
This article from Vox is from February, so it is not up-to-date with today’s developments, but it gives a great deal of detail on who the players are. Worth a read.