Intel Committee GOP Wants to Talk to Trump Jr. After Meeting with Russian Lawyer Revealed
WASHINGTON -- A Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee said a meeting between a Russian lawyer, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner underscores the need for continuing investigations into possible campaign collusion, while calling on the president's son to come testify before lawmakers.
The New York Times reported over the weekend that Trump Jr., Kushner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, whose clients have included Russian government entities and relatives, two weeks after Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination. The campaign was reportedly promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton in advance of the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower.
Veselnitskaya is an ardent lobbyist for repeal of human-rights sanctions against the Kremlin passed by Congress after the 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who uncovered massive Kremlin fraud and corruption and died behind bars at age 37. Opponents of the sanctions point to Russia's retaliation -- freezing the adoption of Russian children by American parents -- as reason for lifting the punitive measures against the Kremlin.
The Washington Post reported today that the meeting was set up by music publicist Rob Goldstone at the request of pop star Emin Agalarov, whose Kremlin-connected family sponsored President Trump's Miss Universe pageant in Russia in 2013. Trump and the Agalarovs signed a Moscow hotel deal after the pageant that hasn't advanced since Trump began his White House run. Trump also appeared in a music video for Emin Agalarov in 2013.
“The lawyer had apparently stated she had some information regarding illegal campaign contributions to the DNC which she believed Mr. Trump Jr. might find important,” Goldstone said in a statement, adding Veselnitskaya made “a few very general remarks” about campaign funding before ripping into the Magnitsky Act.
Trump Jr. issued a statement saying he didn't know he would be meeting with Veselnitskaya before the scheduled sit-down. "I asked Jared and Paul to attend, but told them nothing of the substance," he said.
"It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information. (The lawyer) then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act," Trump Jr. continued. "It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting."
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said today that the committee "needs to interview him and others who attended the meeting."
"Happy to work with the committee to pass on what I know," tweeted Trump Jr., along with: "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."