Trump Admits His Campaign Sought Dirt On Clinton From Russians At Trump Tower Meeting
Trump also claims Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting was “totally legal.” Legal experts say that’s not true.
This morning, President Trump tweeted out an admission that contradicts over years worth of statements his team has made about the nature of the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018
The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was held between Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, then-Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, Natalia Veselnitskaya (a Russian lawyer and self-described informant), and Russian operatives. Donald Trump Jr.’s own emails and congressional testimony revealed that he was very eager about the prospect of receiving dirt on Hillary Clinton, but his initial story about the meeting was very different.
The Trump administration’s initial response to this, which was dictated on Air Force One by Trump himself with the help of former Communications Director Hope Hicks, was false. Trump Jr.’s first statement after the initial report asserted the meeting was only about adoption. As we now know, Trump Jr. later acknowledged that it clearly wasn’t just about adoption. He clearly states that he anticipated he was going to receive damaging information on his father’s political opponent Hillary Clinton. Even if it was strictly about “adoption” it would’ve been problematic, given the fact Magnitsky Act was expanded in 2016 and now sanctions 44 people worldwide. If this story wasn’t about Jr. seeking dirt, it would’ve been about Trump campaign officials meeting with a Russian lawyer who is lobbying against US-imposed sanctions on Russia.
President Trump’s “fixer” Michael Cohen has reportedly claimed that then-candidate Trump approved the meeting ahead of time. This would make sense that Candidate Trump was aware, given the fact on June 7th, Candidate Trump said he was going to do a speech about Hillary Clinton’s wrongdoings (the speech never happened). Also, Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani confirmed that there was a preparation meeting that occurred between Trump’s campaign team on June 7th, the same day as the speech announcement. One person allegedly in attendance, former Deputy Campaign Chairman Rick Gates, is now a cooperating witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
These are all significant developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government. If true, it would also mean that Donald Trump Jr. lied about his father’s knowledge of this to congressional investigators. And in spite of Trump Sr.’s assertions that the meeting was not illegal, but legal experts beg to differ.
Federal law, Section 30121 of Title 52, states that it is a crime for a foreign national to contribute money or other items of value to an American election, as well as making it illegal for an American to solicit such a contribution.
Also, if any Americans aided in disseminating the Russian hacked data, then they could be roped in as co-conspirators in Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers (GRU) for hacking the DNC, DCCC, and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign during the 2016 election and leaking through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0.
The Full Meeting Breakdown
- In attendance: 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
- There seemed to have been a phone call between Emin Agalarov and Donald Trump Jr. on June 6th
- Trump Jr. didn’t appear surprised by Goldstone’s declaration that the Russian government supports his father
- Trump Sr. was one floor above the meeting at Trump Tower while the meeting took place