Natalia Veselnitskaya / Facebook Natalia Veselnitskaya...
Natalia Veselnitskaya / Facebook

Republicans are anxious to drop congressional Trump–Russia investigations, and are working hard to create a fake scandal as a distraction. But that doesn’t mean the real thing is going away.

Despite the fact that Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was invited to Trump Tower on the basis that she was bringing official documents from the Russian government as part of a government program to back Trump’s candidacy, both Veselnitskaya and Trump Junior have maintained that she was a private player there on behalf of clients. But now it’s clear that the document she brought to the meeting was based off the same presentation that Russian officials made to pro-Russian Republican Represenative Dana Rohrabacher.

Interviews and records show that in the months before the meeting, Ms. Veselnitskaya had discussed the allegations with one of Russia’s most powerful officials, the prosecutor general, Yuri Y. Chaika. And the memo she brought with her closely followed a document that Mr. Chaika’s office had given to an American congressman two months earlier, incorporating some paragraphs verbatim.

Chaika was the same official who publicist Rob Goldstone referred to when setting up the meeting between Russian representatives and Trump’s campaign.

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.

Prosecutor general Yuri Chaika promised to send documents to Trump’s campaign. It’s clear now that that’s exactly what Veselnitskaya delivered — but it’s also easy to see why Trump’s team was disappointed, because the level of Clinton “dirt” was low. 

The presentation that Veselnitskaya delivered to Trump Tower, and which Rohrabacher brought home from his Kremlin visit, was chiefly focused on one aspect of the Magnitsky Act — human rights activist Bill Browder.

Only one line of the memo refers to Clinton, and even that ties back to Veselnitskaya’s primary obsession, Browder. According to Veselnitskaya’s talking points, Browder’s work in Russia was bankrolled by Ziff Brothers Investments, an American firm that she describes as having deep ties to Democrats. “It cannot be ruled out that they also financed [the] Hillary Clinton campaign,” she writes in the document.

This doesn’t mean that the Trump campaign wasn’t provided, or promised additional documents. It doesn’t mean they weren’t told about Russia’s program of social media to support Trump. But what the campaign got from Veselnitskaya was an extended anti-Browder rant that mentioned Clinton only in passing.

One other thing the discussion wasn’t about — adoptions. Despite Donald Trump’s personally-authored excuse that the meeting was centered on Russian adoptions, that gets as little notice in Veselnitskaya’s memo as Clinton. 

The real goal of the document that was obtained by Foreign Policy is to smear Bill Browder.

She called Browder’s story about Magnitsky “never-existent” and said the Magnitsky Act was the product of “a massive three-year lobbying campaign” that began “a new round of the Cold War between” the US and Russia. …

The document’s language closely mirrored the contents of a memo provided to Republican US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher by the office of Russia’s chief federal prosecutor Yuri Chaika while Rohrabacher was in Moscow last April.

Russia didn’t have to send an agent to meet with Trump’s campaign to get across their attacks on Browder. They could have just sent Dana Rohrabacher … which is kind of the same thing.

Businessman and activist Browder was blocked from international travel earlier this week when Russia issued a request to arrest him, but Interpol has rejected that request, and Browder has been cleared to travel.

Goldstone’s original message indicated that the meeting would include material designed to help Trump’s campaign. 

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and it’s government’s support for Mr. Trump — helped along by Aras and Emin.

An offer to which Trump Junior replied “I love it.” Whether the meeting provided any information to love, or that material was offered at another time, remains unclear.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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