Judiciary Committee Transcripts on Trump Tower Meeting Confirm It Was a Big Nothingburger
The infamous Trump Tower meeting between members of the Trump Campaign and some shady Russian lobbyists in June of 2016 may have been a "bad idea," but it ultimately turned out to be a huge nothingburger and waste of time according to the individuals involved.
More than 1,800 pages of transcripts from Senate Judiciary Committee 2017 interviews of numerous key figures in on the meeting were released Wednesday, undermining the spin on the controversial confab's role in the collusion narrative. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had been pushing for the release of the records since January.
As has been widely reported, Trump Jr. agreed to a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya after being promised dirt on Hillary Clinton during the heat of the 2016 campaign. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Don Jr. were in attendance. Also there were Rob Goldstone, the publicist of Azeri-Russian singer Emin Agalarov; Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist; Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer; and a translator.
News of the meeting was first revealed in the New York Times in July of 2017, causing allegations that team Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election to reach a fever pitch. But the transcripts indicate that the media outrage regarding the meeting was much ado about nothing. As President Trump has said repeatedly -- there was no collusion.
According to the transcripts, Trump Jr. said he was "skeptical" of the meeting from the get-go, telling the committee that Goldstone -- the publicist who set up the meeting at the behest of Agalarov -- actually apologized for wasting their time when it was over.
Trump Jr. told the committee that if he had actually been given information on Clinton, he would have then consulted with his lawyer to “make an informed decision as to whether to give it any further consideration.” He added, “I also note at this time there was no focus on Russian activities that there is today."