Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Donald Trump Jr. and others from the Trump campaign in June 2016, reportedly described herself as an “informant” to the Russian government.
Adding another layer to the story, the lawyer also met with the co-founder of Fusion GPS — the firm that commissioned the Trump Russia dossier — both immediately before and after that Trump campaign meeting.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Veselnitskaya sought a meeting with the Trump campaign on the premise that she would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
However, when she actually met with Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, rather than passing on information about Clinton, the attorney wanted to talk primarily about the repeal of the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions on Russian officials for the inhumane treatment of Sergei Magnitsky. She also addressed the issue of adoption of Russian children, according to Foreign Policy.
In an NBC interview slated to air on Friday night, according to The Times, Veselnitskaya tied herself closer to the Russian government saying, “I am a lawyer, and I am an informant,” then explaining, “Since 2013, I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general.”
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last fall, Veselnitskaya claimed that she had no direct connection to the Russian government.
“I operate independently of any governmental bodies,” she stated in November 2017. “I have no relationship with Mr. (Yuri) Chaika (the Russian prosecutor general), his representatives and his institutions other than those related to my professional functions as a lawyer.”
Fox News reported that same month that Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, was with Veselnitskaya just hours before her June 9, 2016, sit down with Trump Jr. and the other members of the Trump campaign team.
They were both in a Manhattan federal courtroom, a source told FNC, which court records corroborated.
Simpson and Veselnitskaya were at the courthouse for a hearing centered around Russian oligarch Denis Katsyv, whose company, Prevezon, had been sanctioned by the U.S. for its alleged role in a money laundering scheme.
Fox’s source stated that Simpson and Veselnitskaya met together after the Trump Tower meeting as well.
“Simpson’s presence with Veselnitskaya during this critical week in June — together with revelations about Fusion’s simultaneous financial ties to the DNC, Clinton campaign and Russian interests — raise(s) new questions about the company’s role in the 2016 election,” the news outlet reported.
One implication could be that the Trump Tower meeting was a set up to make the campaign appear it was engaging in collusion with the Russian government, when in fact the Clinton campaign and the DNC, through Fusion GPS, were doing that very thing.
A House Intelligence Committee chided the Trump campaign for taking the meeting with Veselnitskaya, but found no evidence of collusion with Russia in its report released Friday concerning Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential race.
“(The) meeting at Trump Tower between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer who falsely purported to have damaging information on the Clinton campaign demonstrated poor judgment,” the report stated.
The report further noted that the Clinton campaign and the DNC used Russian sources (including current and former Russian government officials), through a series of intermediaries, to commision the notorious “Trump dossier.”
“The committee also found that the Clinton campaign and the DNC, using a series of cutouts and intermediaries to obscure their roles, paid for opposition research on Trump obtained from Russian sources, including a litany of claims by high-ranking current and former Russian government officials,” the report stated.
“Some of this opposition research was used to produce sixteen memos, which comprise what has become known as the Steele dossier.”
The dossier was then reportedly passed on to officials in the Obama administration’s Justice Department who used it to help obtain a FISA warrant to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
President Donald Trump responded to the House report highlighting its findings of no evidence of collusion regarding his campaign and noting the Clinton campaign’s involvement in funding the dossier.
Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. “No evidence” that the Trump Campaign “colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.” Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2018
Trump also called for an end to the Mueller investigation, describing it as “witch hunt.”
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