Tags: Trump Administration | trump | junior | counterintelligence | russia | meeting

NBC: Former Soviet Counterintelligence Officer at Trump Jr. Meeting

By    |   Friday, 14 July 2017 09:19 AM

A former Soviet counterintelligence officer turned lobbyist also was in the room during Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last summer at Trump Tower.

The man was identified only as a Russian-American lobbyist, and his name was not released. NBC's Hallie Jackson, reporting on the "Today" show, said the man, however, has been suspected by some American officials of having "ongoing ties to Russian intelligence."

Soon after, Trump Jr.'s lawyer Alan Futerfas revealed that yet another person may have been in the meeting.

The man denies having any current ties to Russian spy agencies, NBC reports.

Veselnitskaya had acknowledged to NBC News she was accompanied by a person, who she declined to identify, when she met with Donald Trump Jr.

The president's son was accompanied at the meeting by his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort. Until Friday, no mention had been made by either side of a fifth person attending the meeting.

Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting, arranged by music publicist Rob Goldstone, who said Veselnitskaya was a lawyer for the Russian government, which supported his father's campaign, and that she would have negative information concerning then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Trump Jr., in an email exchange he released earlier, wrote "I love it" when told about the possibility of potentially damaging information to the Clinton campaign.

Goldstone, who represents Russia pop star Emin Agalarov, said the information was "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

Jackson's original report said she had not received comment from representatives of those attending the meeting, but after the segment aired, Trump Jr.'s lawyer, Futerfas, confirmed he had spoken to the fifth individual at the meeting, and indicated there may have been yet another person present. ​

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"It’s very simple,” Futerfas said. "The person was described as a friend of Emin's and maybe as a friend of Natalia's."

Futerfas told NBC he spoke with the man who accompanied Veselnitskaya to the meeting, and that the person is a U.S. citizen who told him specifically "he was not working for the Russian government, and in fact laughed when I asked him that question."

He said Trump Jr. did not know anything about the man's background, even though the names were reviewed "for the purpose of security or otherwise."

Futerfas said he has "no concerns about what was said in that meeting."

The president has defended his son's decision to take the meeting, saying during a press conference Thursday alongside French President Emmanuel Macron that "most people would have taken the meeting."

"It's called opposition research," Trump said. "Nothing happened from the meeting. Honestly, I think the press made a very big deal over something that really a lot of people would do."

Veselnitskaya has denied being associated with the Russian government or having information about Clinton, and Trump Jr. said she gave him no information about the former Secretary of State.

In new excerpts released by reporters on Air Force One with Trump, as he headed to France for Friday's Bastille Day celebrations, the president called his 39-year-old son a "good boy" and a "good kid," Jackson reported.

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A former Soviet counterintelligence officer turned lobbyist also was in the room during Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last summer at Trump Tower, NBC News reported Friday.
trump, junior, counterintelligence, russia, meeting
Friday, 14 July 2017 09:19 AM
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