Rantt Rundown: The President’s Son Sought Dirt On Clinton From Russian Informant

Day 463 of the Trump presidency

Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland — July 20, 2016. (AP/Matt Rourke)

Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland — July 20, 2016. (AP/Matt Rourke)

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We all know about the infamous June 9, 2016, meeting. The one where Donald Trump Jr., then-Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and other Russian operatives in Trump Tower. We know that this meeting was taken after British Publicist Rob Goldstone emailed Trump Jr. offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton that was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Trump Jr. responded to that email with:

“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

If that was not damning enough, what we learned today makes this meeting appear downright nefarious.

We all knew that Veselnitskaya had close ties to the Kremlin, but today we learned just how close. The New York Times reported:

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.

“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.”

The story goes on to detail email exchanges revealing that Veselnitskaya helped to craft the Russian government’s response to the U.S. Justice Department’s prosecution of Denis P. Katsyv for money laundering.

This contradicts what Veselnitskaya told the Senate Judiciary Committee: “I operate independently of any governmental bodies.”

If you’re interested in an excellent deep dive into Veselnitskaya’s past and Kremlin ties, check out this article from Rantt’s Managing Editor Remy Anne.

To recap: Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, and then-Campaign Chairman Manafort, met with a Russian lawyer/informant/adviser in Trump Tower after being promised dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian Government. This new development also builds on the case that the Trump Tower meeting doubled as a Russian intelligence-gathering operation.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has shown interest in this meeting. In his obstruction case, Mueller has been looking into whether or not President Donald Trump tried to conceal the nature of this meeting when he personally dictated Trump Jr.’s initial misleading characterization of the meeting. And a court filing this week revealed that in the raid of Manafort’s home last year, Special Counsel Robert Mueller sought evidence related to the Trump Tower meeting (as we know, Manafort took notes about the meeting that included the words “RNC” and “donation.”)

The Full Meeting Breakdown

  • Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, the Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Rob Goldstone, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, Russian interpreter and a representative for Aras Agalarov, Ike Kaveladze were at this June 9th meeting at Trump tower
  • Goldstone, publicist, and former British tabloid reporter, was the intermediary for setting up the meeting
  • Trump Jr. was promised dirt on Clinton before agreeing to attend
  • Veselnitskaya was lobbying against Russian sanctions, and has testified that during the meeting Trump Jr. asked for damning information Hillary Clinton
  • Trump Jr. was told it was part of Russia’s effort to support his father’s candidacy (with email confirmation via Trump Jr. himself)
  • Goldstone was told to set up the meeting by the son of Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov, Emin Agalarov
  • Trump Jr. didn’t appear surprised by Goldstone’s declaration that the Russian government supports his father
  • There seemed to have been a phone call between Emin Agalarov and Donald Trump Jr. on June 6th
  • Trump Sr. was one floor above the meeting at Trump Tower while the meeting took place

For yet another excellent deep dive into the players involved in the Trump Tower meeting and what happened, check out this article from Remy Anne.

Meanwhile…

The leaders of North and South Korea agreed on Friday to work to remove all nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula and, within the year, pursue talks with the United States to declare an official end to the Korean War, which ravaged the peninsula from 1950 to 1953.

At a historic summit meeting, the first time a North Korean leader had ever set foot in the South, the leaders vowed to negotiate a treaty to replace a truce that has kept an uneasy peace on the divided Korean Peninsula for more than six decades. A peace treaty has been one of the incentives North Korea has demanded in return for dismantling its nuclear program.

“South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula,” read a statement signed by North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and the South’s president, Moon Jae-in, after their meeting at the border village of Panmunjom.

Kim Jong Un, left, and Moon Jae-in, hold hands as they cross the Military Demarcation Line in Paju. (Source: Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps/Pool via Bloomberg)

Kim Jong Un, left, and Moon Jae-in, hold hands as they cross the Military Demarcation Line in Paju. (Source: Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps/Pool via Bloomberg)

  • The Republican-led House Intelligence Committee released their report on Russian interference, prematurely shutting down the investigation and claiming there was no collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Democrats claimed there were major stones left unturned. The House’s probe has been beleaguered by Rep. Devin Nunes and other sycophants. From the widely debunked memo alleging FISA abuses to the unmasking scandal engineered by the White House, the Republicans on the committee have worked overtime to spread disinformation and try to undermine Mueller’s investigation. Keep that in mind while reading about this development.

The report also revealed that Trump’s former National Security Adviser, now-felon, Michael Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr. met with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on December 2, 2015 at his house. Also in the report…

Trump immediately cried vindication and called for the probe to be ended.

A lawsuit filed by an adult-film actress over an alleged “hush money” deal with President Donald Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen will be put on hold for three months because of a criminal investigation Cohen is facing, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero said it appeared “likely” that Cohen would be indicted in connection with the ongoing investigation, which led to search warrant raids on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room in New York earlier this month.

The National Rifle Association is setting aside years of documents related to its interactions with a Kremlin-linked banker, as the gun-rights group appears to be bracing for a possible investigation, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The NRA has faced fresh scrutiny from congressional investigators about its finances and ties to Alexander Torshin, one of the 17 prominent Russian government officials the US Treasury Department recently slapped with sanctions. The gun-rights group has said it is reexamining its relationship with Torshin, who is a lifetime NRA member, in the wake of the sanctions.

The renewed attention has highlighted the close-knit if sometimes uneasy alliance between top NRA officials and Torshin — a relationship that ensnared members of Trump’s team during the presidential campaign, inviting further congressional scrutiny.

The White House said Friday that internal records raise doubt about some of the most serious allegations leveled against White House doctor Ronny Jackson in his failed bid to become the next secretary of Veterans Affairs. Jackson withdrew his nomination Thursday after allegations by current and former colleagues raised questions about his prescribing practices and leadership ability, including accusations of drunkenness on the job.

Immigration officers in the United States operate under a cardinal rule: Keep your hands off Americans.

But Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents repeatedly target U.S. citizens for deportation by mistake, making wrongful arrests based on incomplete government records, bad data and lax investigations, according to a Times review of federal lawsuits, internal ICE documents and interviews.

Since 2012, ICE has released from its custody more than 1,480 people after investigating their citizenship claims, according to agency figures. And a Times review of Department of Justice records and interviews with immigration attorneys uncovered hundreds of additional cases in the country’s immigration courts in which people were forced to prove they are Americans and sometimes spent months or even years in detention.

The Trump administration has drafted a proposal that would freeze fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles starting in 2021 and challenge California’s ability to set its own fuel-efficiency rules, changes that would hobble one of the Obama administration’s most significant initiatives to curb climate change.

Rundown // Donald Trump / Government / Journalism / Politics