VICEnews: Former Soviet agent attended Trump Jr. meeting and was unimpressed
Donald Trump made it clear at the beginning of his campaign that he wasn’t going to follow the normal rules or tone of politics. We’re keeping track of all the ways his presidency veers from the norm in terms of policy and rhetoric.
So much for transparency.
Donald Trump Jr. had to change his story yet again on Friday about his meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya during the presidential campaign last summer. A former Soviet counterintelligence officer and current Russian-American lobbyist also attended the meeting, according to NBC News.
The Associated Press identified the individual to be Rinat Akhmetshin, who told the news agency that the meeting was “not substantive” and he “actually expected more serious” discussion.
Emails at the time confirm that the June 2016 meeting of the Russians, Trump Jr., and senior Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner was convened with the purpose of cooperating with the Russian government to damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.
The president’s son’s descriptions of the meeting have changed repeatedly over the past week as journalists have released more details. First, the meeting was just about “adoption of Russian children” and “not a campaign issue.” Then he acknowledged that the meeting was also about obtaining dirt on Hillary Clinton but that the lawyer “had no meaningful information.” And now we learn that there was at least one other Russia-aligned individual at the meeting that was previously undisclosed.
Trump Jr.’s lawyer confirmed that another Russian was also present. “The person was described as a friend of Emin [Agalarov]’s and maybe as a friend of Natalia’s,” Alan Futerfas, Trump Jr.’s attorney, told NBC News.
Agalarov is a Russian pop star whose relationship with Donald Trump dates back to 2013 when Trump hosted his Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Trump also appeared in a music video with Agalarov at the time.
Agalarov’s publicist, Rob Goldstone, brokered the 2016 meeting with promises of providing damaging information on Clinton’s ties to Russia. “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. replied to an email from Goldstone.