A false narrative about Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met briefly with Donald Trump Jr. and a few other members of the Trump team in June of 2016, is being pushed by some on the right this week.
Several right-wing blogs and alt-righters on Twitter are painting Veselnitskaya as a virulent Trump-basher based on pictures she posted of the Women’s March back in January.
InfoWars, for instance, wrote:
The Russian lawyer at the center of the Donald Trump Jr. controversy posted photos from anti-Trump rallies held after the presidential inauguration, suggesting the woman may be a Democrat operative.
According to photos on Natalia Veselnitskaya’s Facebook, the Russian lawyer – who claims she has no ties to the Kremlin – attended the Soros-funded Women’s March in Chicago the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Facebook mobile phone photo uploads indicate Veselnitskaya attended anti-Trump demonstrations on at least two different dates.
Even Rush Limbaugh bought into it:
LIMBAUGH: 'Honey Pot' Natalia Veselnitskaya Is Part Of The 'Opposition To Trump' https://t.co/HJ2BAgaqh3
— SavageNationFans (@SavageNation) July 12, 2017
The Facebook archive includes several pictures of women’s marches that she uploaded onto her Facebook page. But you have to go to her actual January 22 post and click on the translate button for the proper context.
Veselnitskaya was clearly mocking the marchers.
What do you think? “my body is my choice”- it’s all about abortion, homosexuality, illegal migration and two presidents. The order of anyone but who does not understand is now called ” human rights
Real time photos from New York Women’s March in Manhattan:
А Вы что об этом думаете? "мое тело – мой выбор"- это все про аборты, гомосексуализм, незаконную миграцию и двух…
In reaction to another commenter who opined that the Women’s March was about freedom, she retorted:
if this is the real freedom to wear the image of women’s genitalia, take on this show of their own children and put such tags on them, and the childish look at the serious things in front of the eyes, but requiring any tension of the grey stuff I’m against it! Calls and demonstrations to blow, kill, rape is freedom too? It’s not freedom. And the conclusion in the world of those who put all this filth in their heads. By the way, while at this time in New York, it was a few days later that people, like awakening from hypnosis, were shocked to learn that they were very welcome. Some people just said they were ashamed to say they were on the March, going there more because of the curiosity and the herd instinct. Who’s not exactly the subject of the posters at this time of “Pussimarshi” – walk on the land roads, I can’t. And that’s my choice.
Another post from January 22 features Woman’s March villain Linda Sarsour:
Great news! Во вчерашних протестах организатором марша в Вашингтоне являлась Линда Сарсур. Журналисты Federalist papers раскопали ее связи с Хамазом!
In yesterday’s protests, a march in Washington was Linda Sarsur. Journalists’s journalists have unearthed her connections with khamazom!
The alleged anti-Trumper also seemed to celebrate the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch:
Теперь их снова стало 9. Место скончавшегося в начале прошлого года знаменитого судьи ВС США Антонио Скалио занял Нил…
We’ve all come to expect Russia collusion disinformation to come from the liberal mainstream media. The right shouldn’t be pushing back with false narratives of their own.
Here’s what we know:
Veselnitskaya represents a Russian-owned company called Prevezon Holdings, which was sued by the U.S. attorney in New York’s Southern District in a money laundering case. According to the Washington Post, “it was while she was in that role that she also became an outspoken advocate for lifting economic sanctions imposed by Congress against Russia for human rights violations.”
Her meeting with the Trump team was arranged on the pretext that she would provide some juicy dirt on the Clinton campaign, but she apparently had nothing of real value to offer and spent most of her time talking about repealing the Magnitsky Act, 2012 legislation that imposes U.S. economic sanctions against Russia.
A few days after her meeting at Trump Tower, Natalia Veselnitskaya was seated in the front row of a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing behind Obama’s ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul. At the hearing, witnesses discussed U.S. economic sanctions against Russia — her pet issue.
She secured a seat in the first row, directly behind the witness table. She was photographed by a committee staffer as she listened intently to a witness, former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who testified that many Russians “quietly believe that Putin’s current course of confrontation with the West” does not serve its interests.
Opponents of the Magnitsky Act had hoped to show a film about the issue to members of Congress, but they were rebuffed. Instead, the film was screened the night before at the Newseum. Veselnitskaya took a seat at the screening, according to a congressional official who attended the event, but she did not speak to the audience. She later returned to Russia, where she is raising four children, and she seemed to fade from public notice until her role surfaced in Trump Tower meeting.
On Tuesday night, she was by turns tearful and angry about her sudden prominence. She defended her role, and stood steadfast in her belief that the Magnitsky Act is unfair and that her appearance at Trump Tower had nothing to do with the Russian government.
“I did not have an assignment from the Kremlin. There were no orders from the government,” she said.
According to President Trump’s legal team, there is a connection between Veselnitskaya and Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind the now-discredited “pee-pee” dossier. A letter this spring by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley disclosed that Fusion GPS also provided litigation support in the Prevezon case.
“Prevezon’s lobbying efforts were reportedly commissioned by Mr. Katsyv, who organized them through a Delaware non-profit he formed and through the law firm then representing Prevezon in the asset forfeiture case, Baker Hostetler. Among others, the efforts involved lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin and Fusion GPS, a political research firm led by Glenn Simpson,” the letter said.
Grassley has asked the Justice Department to look at all the connections and is seeking information from Fusion GPS on whether opponents of Trump funded the creation of a salacious intelligence dossier to hurt his presidential bid. The FBI has said it has been unable to corroborate many of the allegations in the dossier that involved Trump.
“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 Steele dossier. ”
“These developments raise serious issues as to exactly who authorized and participated in any effort by Russian nationals to influence our election in any manner,” Corallo said.
Sen. Chuck Grassley on Tuesday also wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly asking for information on how Veselnitskaya was able to enter the U.S.
Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote that the attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was denied a visa before her June 9, 2016, meeting with Trump Jr., in which she was offering “very high level and sensitive information” that would “incriminate” Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president.
Veselnitskaya, however, was granted parole to enter the U.S. sometime in 2015, Grassley said, but her parole status expired Jan. 7, 2016.
Hermitage Capital CEO Bill Browder, the man behind the Magnitsky Act, appeared on Fox Business Wednesday to discuss Veselnitskaya’s objective for meeting with Donald Trump Jr. last June. Browder said that Russian operatives had probably made the Trump campaign a target shortly after he secured the nomination, and probably targeted the Clinton campaign as well.
“It wouldn’t have taken a whole lot of Google research to figure out that this is a very sketchy person and you wouldn’t want to meet with her,” Browder said. “This meeting was done for the benefit of Vladimir Putin by serious people high up in the Russian government.”
President Trump came out strongly in support of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act back in April:
“Over the coming weeks and months, agencies will undertake thorough interagency vetting to ensure we fulfill our commitment to hold perpetrators of human rights abuses and corruption accountable,” Trump wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders. “This report, compiled by the Department of State, the Treasury, and other relevant executive departments and agencies, outlines my administration’s support for this important legislation and makes clear our commitment to its robust and thorough enforcement,”