According to reports, Donald Trump Jr., son of President Donald Trump, allegedly met with a Russian lawyer in Manhattan who has connections to the Kremlin. That lawyer has been identified as Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Veselnitskaya was in the United States for case involving a Russian businessman who was accused of fraud in a civil suit brought by former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. It was during this visit that Veselnitskaya allegedly met with the Trump campaign team figures at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016.
The New York Times reported that the Veselnitskaya allegedly wanted to discuss the Magnitsky Act. The Magnitsky Act is an American law passed in 2012 that blacklisted suspected Russian human rights abusers.
via New York Times:
Two weeks after Donald J. Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination last year, his eldest son arranged a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan with a Russian lawyer who has connections to the Kremlin, according to confidential government records described to The New York Times.
The previously unreported meeting was also attended by Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, as well as the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to interviews and the documents, which were outlined by people familiar with them.
The Russian lawyer invited to the Trump Tower meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, is best known for mounting a multipronged attack against the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers. The law so enraged Mr. Putin that he retaliated by halting American adoptions of Russian children.
The Magnitsky Act was named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky uncovered fraud involving Prevezon Holdings, a real estate company owned by the son of a Russian government official. What Magnitsky uncovered became one of the biggest corruption scandals of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s presidency. He later suspiciously died in Russian custody.
According to Business Insider, the case garnered ‘high-profile attention given its ties to the $230 million Russian tax-fraud scheme uncovered by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, whose suspicious death aroused international media attention in November 2009.’
Trump Jr. told the New York Times that he met with Veselnitskaya on behalf of an acquaintance, however, he did not know her name prior to that meeting.
According to Mr. Trump, Veselnitskaya’s statements were ‘vague, ambiguous and made no sense.’ He released a full statement on the meeting:
I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign. I was not told her name prior to the meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to attend, but told them nothing of the substance. We had a meeting in June 2016. After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton.
Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information. She then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act. It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting. I interrupted and advised her that my father was not an elected official, but rather a private citizen, and that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office.
The meeting lasted approximately 20 to 30 minutes. As it ended, my acquaintance apologized for taking up our time. That was the end of it and there was no further contact or follow-up of any kind. My father knew nothing of the meeting or these events.