Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Trump Tower transcripts released

Trump Jr. Russia meeting Skye Gould Business Insider
Charlie Simmons | 17 May, 2018, 01:45

The panel interviewed Trump Jr. about the 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer who came to offer "dirt" on then-candidate Hillary Clinton.

After a thorough review, Senate Intel has found no evidence to dispute the intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation, on orders from Putin, carried out an unprecedented election interference effort to help the Trump campaign and hurt the Clinton campaign in 2016.

In another indication that the meeting was not supposed to be a top-secret attempt for the Trump campaign to collude with Russia, Goldstone also revealed that he "checked in" to Trump Tower on Facebook when he arrived. His committee is one of three congressional panels investigating the intelligence community's finding that Russian Federation sought to interfere in the 2016 election to boost Trump and whether Trump associates colluded with Moscow.

The Senate Judiciary Committee just released 2,500 pages of testimony and exhibits relating the notorious June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Asked if he thought it was problematic to take a meeting described to him as part of a Russian government effort to aid his father's campaign, Trump Jr. said no.

During his interview, Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, was asked about communications from Goldstone about offers of support from "important" Russians as Trump emerged as the front-runner for the Republican nomination during the primaries.

In addition to Mr 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.

Asked if any of those comments made through Hicks were incorporated in the statement, Trump Jr. admitted "some may have been", but reiterated that "this was an effort through lots of people, mostly counsel".

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Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, denies working on behalf of Moscow.

Overall, the newly-released documents seem to indicate that a short 20-minute meeting resulted in hours of interviews and thousands of pages of documents for little reason.

"It did not talk about what got them into the door, and I didn't expand on it because I didn't think it was relevant to discuss what the meeting was not actually about", Trump Jr. said of the initial Air Force 1 statement.

The congressional panel released Kaveladze's transcript from the November 2017 interview on Wednesday.

The promoter told the committee that his client, the Russian pop star and developer Emin Agalarov, had insisted he help set up the meeting between the President's son and the lawyer during the campaign to pass along material on Clinton, overriding Goldstone's own warnings that the meeting would be a bad idea.

"The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated and ordered by President Putin himself for the goal of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton", said Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the committee. "I believe there was a meeting there. I never spoke with my father about it". Goldstone wrote. "And because I am not able to respond out of courtesy to you and your father. Politics, I knew nothing about", Mr Goldstone said, adding that neither did Emin Agalarov nor his father, Aras.

"I hope this favor was worth it for your dad-it could blow up big", he texted Agalarov.

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