Donald Trump Jr. claims that he didn’t know the name of the person who was coming to the infamous Trump Tower meeting to provide the “dirt on Hillary Clinton” that had been promised as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” but she was certainly well-known around Washington, and around the Kremlin.
Newly released emails show that in at least one instance two years earlier, the lawyer, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, worked hand in glove with Russia’s chief legal office to thwart a Justice Department civil fraud case against a well-connected Russian firm.
This isn’t the first time that Veselnitskaya has been tied to the Russian government. In fact, she’s been the go-to attorney for pressing causes dear to the Kremlin in US courts.
Veselnitskaya is a Russian lawyer, who, like many involved in the Trump and Russia saga, isn’t directly employed by the Russian government but has a number of deeper government ties. The Russian government often operates by using not only its own employees but those with informal or personal relationships to its key leaders.
But it’s the first time Veselnitskaya seems to have dropped her “just a poor, private lawyer” approach to admit her connections.
Ms. Veselnitskaya also appears to have recanted her earlier denials of Russian government ties. During an interview to be broadcast Friday by NBC News, she acknowledged that she was not merely a private lawyer but a source of information for a top Kremlin official, Yuri Y. Chaika, the prosecutor general.
The prosecutor general … who Rob Goldstone promised Donald Trump Jr. was the source of that “dirt.”
In Rob Goldstone’s original emails to Donald Trump Jr.:
Emin just asked me to contact you with something very interesting. The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning, and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and could be very useful to your father.
The person that Goldstone names as the “Crown prosecutor” is the prosecutor general, who Veselnitskaya talks about in her interview.
“I am a lawyer, and I am an informant,” she said. “Since 2013, I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general.”
All of which supports the idea that the Trump Tower meeting wasn’t a casual get together from which Jared Kushner bugged out early, Paul Manafort couldn’t stop playing with his phone and Donald Trump Jr. was disappointed. It was what it appeared to be—a key meeting between the participants in an international conspiracy to determine how best to utilize information illegally collecting through cyber warfare by a foreign government to interfere in a U.S. election.
At first glance, Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer may seem like Just Another Story in the long saga of connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. In fact, when compared to ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn phoning it in to the Russian ambassador, or favored son-in-law Jared Kushner offering to bring Trump right into the Russian embassy for secret chats with the Kremlin, this little meeting may seem like the “nothing burger” that Reince Priebus declared.
But this is a burger with everything. In fact, it may be the last item on Donald Trump’s menu. Because if this was a whodunit mystery, the answer would be dead obvious.
What seemed to be obvious almost a year ago, now appears to be confirmed.
The previously undisclosed details about Ms. Veselnitskaya rekindle questions about who she was representing when she met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and others at Trump Tower in Manhattan during the campaign. The meeting, one focus of the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference, was organized after an intermediary promised that Ms. Veselnitskaya would deliver documents that would incriminate Mrs. Clinton.
- The Russians stole documents.
- They promised documents to Trump.
- They met to discuss those documents.
- The documents were delivered through WikiLeaks.
- Trump operatives had advance knowledge of both contents and timing on WikiLeaks releases.
- Donald Trump Jr. had communications with WikiLeaks to strategize on releases.
- Donald Trump used that information in his campaign rallies.
- Both Cambridge Analytica and Russian operatives used the information in stories targeted at key voter districts.
- They used the Democratic voter-turnout model they had stolen to target voters for suppression.
- They lied about every step.
That’s a conspiracy. And every step of that conspiracy is now public knowledge.