Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Senate panel releases details from its Trump Tower meeting probe

Donald Trump Jr. tells Senate Judiciary Committee he can't recall discussing Russia probe with dad Senate Committee Releases 2500 Pages About 2016 Trump Tower Meeting
Steven Clarke | 16 May, 2018, 21:52

Donald Trump Jr. told congressional investigators he was interested in "listening to information" from a Russian lawyer that could damage Hillary Clinton's campaign, but he said he did not discuss the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with his father.

Goldstone fretted that by asking the Trumps to connect with the Russians, he'd be using up one of his favors with the well-heeled family.

Trump Jr. deflected multiple questions during the interview, saying "No, not that I recall" when asked if he discussed the Russian Federation probe with his father.

In January, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said he planned to release the transcripts because the committee's interviews connected to the Trump Tower meetings had wrapped up.

In addition to Trump Jr., the committee interviewed four other people who attended the Trump Tower meeting in NY - publicist Rob Goldstone, who set up the meeting with the promise of dirt on Clinton; Rinat Akhmetshin, a prominent Russian-American lobbyist; Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer, and a translator.

The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting has been central to those probes.

The panel was also not able to interview Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, or Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, though both attended.

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And when the damaging information didn't materialize, as Veselnitskaya focused on U.S. sanctions on Russia under the Magnitsky Act that the USA passed to punish Russian human rights abuses, the testimony gives new insight into how Trump's team reacted.

The committee's documents also included responses from Veselnitskaya, as well as a statement from Kushner and a page of notes from Manafort.

Committee Democrats said the details about the meeting revealed in the new trove of documents confirm an inappropriate relationship between Trump campaign aides and the Russian government.

The special counsel is investigating the Russian meddling in the election, whether Trump's campaign was involved and possible obstruction of justice.

While four of the people who attended largely backed up Kushner's account, two others-British publicist Rob Goldstone, who arranged the meeting in emails with Donald Trump Jr., and Russian businessman Ike Kaveladze-said Kushner was there throughout.

President Trump and Trump Jr. initially said the meeting was about "adoptions", then modified their stories after Trump Jr. released the email thread showing he received his offer of help from the Russians.

"I appreciate the opportunity to have assisted the Judiciary Committee in its inquiry", Trump Jr. said in a statement, "The public can now see that for over five hours I answered every question asked and was candid and forthright with the Committee". "He may have entered a minute or so after we all entered, but I believe he was. Politics, I knew nothing about". They worked out who should sit where, and I sat next to Mr. Kushner.

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