In what is beginning to look like a setup by the Democratic Party, senior members of President Donald Trump‘s campaign team met with a lawyer linked to the Kremlin a mere two weeks after the Trump was confirmed as the Republican presidential nominee.
The meeting itself, which took place at Trump Tower, was confirmed by and included Donald Trump Jr., alomg with campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, husband to Ivanka Trump.
This is “the first confirmed private meeting between a Russian national and members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle during the campaign,” as The New York Times observed, and all three U.S. principals confirmed, through spokespersons, that the meeting took place but that the meeting’s subject matter was unrelated to the campaign. The Times reported:
Donald J. Trump Jr. had denied participating in any campaign-related meetings with Russian nationals when he was interviewed by The Times in March. “Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did,” he said. “But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.”
Asked at that time whether he had ever discussed government policies related to Russia, the younger Mr. Trump replied, “A hundred percent no.”
However, the president’s eldest son immediately shot back a statement in which he denied any wrong-doing be the Trump participants. He said that the meeting’s itinerary was re-introducing an adoption program of Russian children, and added that the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, didn’t identify herself as having Kremlin connections.
His statement, reported by Fox New Politics, said:
It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at that time and there was no follow-up.
I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.
Kushner’s lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, offered a statement indicating that this meeting with the Russian lawyer was previously disclosed. Was the Times piece merely an exercise of dragging out and rehashing old news?
“Mr. Kushner has submitted additional updates and included, out of an abundance of caution, this meeting with a Russian person, which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr.,” the statement said, according to Fox News. “As Mr. Kushner has consistently stated, he is eager to cooperate and share what he knows.”
As the late radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say, “now for the rest of the story.” Then, as now, “the rest of the story” was inevitably the real story.
The Washington Examiner reported that, according to a statement issued by Mar Corallo, an outside counsel to the president, not only did Veselnitskaya misrepresent herself, but the meeting may have been the result of a setup by the Democratic Party.
“We have learned from both our own investigation and public reports that the participants in the meeting misrepresented who they were and who they worked for. Specifically, we have learned that the person who sought the meeting is associated with Fusion GPS, a firm which according to public reports, was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the President and which commissioned the phony Steele dossier,” he continued, referencing the discredited anti-Trump dossier from Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent,” Corallo’s statement said.
“These developments raise serious issue as to exactly who authorized and participated in any effort by Russian nationals to influence our election in any manner,” he added.
NBC News’ Hallie Jackson similarly reported:
NEW: spox for POTUS outside legal team casts mtg as part of oppo effort. Source close to team calls it “poss. setup by Russian operatives” pic.twitter.com/1Y145Ooag8
— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) July 9, 2017
During the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany last week, Trump allowed that the Russian government could have attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election process. Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, categorically denied that any such interference took place.
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