Tags: Russia Probe | Trump Administration | russia | lawyer | trump jr. | clinton

Russian Lawyer Who Met Trump Jr.: I Didn't Have Clinton Campaign Info

(NBC News)

By    |   Tuesday, 11 Jul 2017 07:44 AM

A Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. insisted Tuesday that she has no connection with the Kremlin and that she'd sought the meeting to discuss a client's interest in the Magnitsky Act, not to share information about Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

"It is quite possible that maybe they were longing for such an information," the attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told NBC's Kier Simmons in a live exclusive interview. 

"They wanted it so badly that they could only hear the thought that they wanted."

Veselnitskaya said she's "never had any damaging or sensitive information" about Clinton, and further, it was "never my intention to have that."

Trump Jr. confirmed to The New York Times that he, accompanied by his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, had met with Veselnitskaya last year on June 9, two days after his father clinched the GOP presidential nomination.

He said the topic of conversation was primarily about adoption. Meanwhile, on Monday, The New York Times reported that the president's son had been told in an email sent before the meeting that the attorney had information that was part of Moscow's efforts to help his father's presidential campaign.

Veselnitskaya denied to Simmons, however, that she had any connection with the Russian government. Instead, she said she's been working for years to question the Magnitsky Act, which resulted in the United States imposing sanctions on Russian officials accused of human rights violations.

The Kremlin ended up banning the adoption of Russian children by Americans at the end of 2012, in response to the strict sanctions.

Kremlin officials denied Monday knowing Veselnitskaya.

Veselnitskaya did not name who set up her meeting with Trump Jr., but told Simmons that when she arrived at Trump Tower, she was met by music publicist Rob Goldstone, who had been involved in the Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow in 2013.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Monday, Goldstone said he set up a meeting between a Russian lawyer and Trump's son on behalf of a client in Moscow named Emin Agalarov.

President Donald Trump appeared in a music video with Agalarov in 2013. The video was filmed while he was in Russia for the Miss Universe pageant.

Veselnitskaya told Simmons that she was introduced to Trump's son after she entered a boardroom at Trump Tower. She noted there were two other men in the room, but did not know their names until she'd seen their photographs in the media.

"I could recognize the young gentleman who was only present in the meeting for probably the first seven to 10 minutes, and then he stood up and left the room," she told Simmons. "It was Mr. Jared Kushner. And he never came back, by the way."

Manafort, however, stayed in the meeting, but "all the time he was looking at his phone. He was reading something. He never took any active part in the conversation."

Veselnitskaya said the past days have been difficult for her since the story broke.

"One morning you wake up and all of a sudden you are the focus of all the high ranking, upstream media of the world," she told Simmons. "To summarize, those were not the happiest days of my life, I have to say. I have to break up my holiday. I have to take a trip back to Moscow, because I just wanted to be able to answer the questions myself."

Trump Jr.'s new attorney, Alan Futerfas, Monday said the president's son did not have any specific knowledge about what was to be discussed in the meeting and called reports about the matter "much ado about nothing."

He also pointed out that Veselnitskaya is not a government official, and that she'd not been a prosecutor since 2001.

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A Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. insisted Tuesday that she has no connection with the Kremlin and that she'd sought the meeting to discuss a client's interest in the Magnitsky Act, not to share information about Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
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2017-44-11
Tuesday, 11 Jul 2017 07:44 AM
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