Trump Campaign's Inner Circle Met With Kremlin-Linked Lawyer

Posted July 10, 2017

The meeting between the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and the president's inner circle became public Saturday, the day after President Trump met in Germany with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time.

Donald Trump's son, son-in-law and campaign manager met a Russian lawyer with close ties to the Kremlin two weeks after Mr Trump secured the Republican nomination.

As per reports, this was the first time when Trump known to have been involved in such meeting.

"It was a short introductory meeting", he said in a statement to the newspaper. Also present at the June 9 meeting was Trump's son-in-law and current senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner, as well as the Trump campaign's then chairman, Paul Manafort - whose own connections to the Putin regime have already come under much scrutiny.

Shortly before his father was formally nominated for president last summer, Donald Trump Jr. was approached by a Russian lawyer who set up a meeting to discuss a Russian policy, according to interviews with Trump family lawyers.

Late Saturday, Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the president's lawyer, issued a statement implying that the meeting was a setup.

That ban was put in place by the Russian government as retaliation for a United States law known as the Magnitsky Act, which allows the USA to withhold visas and freeze the assets of Russians thought to have violated human rights. In a statement, Donald Jr. described the meeting as primarily about an adoption program.

Ongoing investigations into contacts between members of Trump's presidential campaign and Russian officials have dogged the President's administration since he took office in January.

'The presidents rightly focused on how do we move forward from what may be simply an intractable disagreement at this point, ' Tillerson said.

While Russia's policy on Americans adopting Russian children was ostensibly the topic of the meeting, Veselnitskaya was more interested in discussing an issue tangentially related to adoption: US sanctions against Russian businessmen. Magnitsky died in a Russian prison under mysterious circumstances in 2009 after exposing a corruption scandal.

Veselnitskaya is identified in court documents as a former Russian prosecutor and private lawyer in Moscow who had been representing the Russian businessman Denis Katsyv and his Prevezon Holdings, against a U.S. Department of Justice a civil asset forfeiture case.

Ms. Veselnitskaya advised the New York Times that the meeting lasted approximately 30 minutes and that the attendees did not discuss the presidential campaign.

The legislation prompted an angry Putin to halt American adoptions of Russian children. "It was a meeting apparently about Russian adoption". "As Mr. Kushner has consistently stated, he is eager to cooperate and share what he knows", she said.

HRAGIF mounted a lobbying campaign previous year to roll back the Magnitsky Act, which is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died in prison in 2009 under mysterious circumstances.

Previous reports by news agencies revealed Mr. Kushner did not disclose any foreign contacts prior to filing the most recent version of the security clearance form.