A pressure group and a former US wrestler. Russian military chief, said on Friday he had attended a meeting in June 2016 between President Trump’s eldest son and lawyer Kremlin.
The presence of Rinat Akhmetshin adds to the grave potential of Trump Tower collection that emerges this week as the clearest evidence to date of the responsible interactions of the Trump campaign and Russian interests.
And it highlights how, despite the commitment of Donald Trump Jr. this week to be “transparent,” new details about the meeting continue to become public amid Congressional investigations and a special council on alleged collusion Russia and Trump campaign .
Emails released this week show that Trump Jr. believes he met a Russian government lawyer who would provide damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian effort to help his father’s presidential campaign.
He joined in the meeting of Jared Kushner, the son of President Trump and Paul Manafort, then campaign aideur but Trump Jr. said this week that he did not get out of the discussion.
The presence of Akhmetshin, who says he has US and Russian citizenship and has been accused by US critics of having links to Russian spy services also seems to link Trump Tower’s meeting with a larger effort more at the time of influencing the politics of United States to Russian.
Akhmetshin said he has never had ties to Russian intelligence, and he and lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya said their efforts were not coordinated with the Russian government.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that the government was not familiar with Akhmetshin.
But in the same period he met with campaign officials Trump Akhmetshin also received a lobbying effort from the Capitol that coincided with one of the Kremlin’s top priorities – to reduce US sanctions in Russia by Congress for violations of rights humans.
Akhmetshin told The Washington Post on Friday he did not know how the Trump Tower meeting was set up.
He said he had lunch with Veselnitskaya that day a few blocks from Trump Tower houses and had asked his opinion about what to say during the session.
Veselnitskaya, who represented a Russian businessman who had been indicted by the United States authorities in New York, said he found what he believes is a violation of Russian law by a Democratic donor.
Akhmetshin added that the Russian lawyer described his findings at the meeting and left a paper on Trump Jr. and others.
In an interview Friday, a lawyer for Trump Jr. Alan Futerfas again rejected the idea that the meeting was significant.
He said to keep in mind that participants in the session were difficult due to the time elapsed – and the lack of importance attached to the conversation.
“The most frustrating part of that to me is that this meeting did not come 13 months,” he said.
“There is no record, there is not a list of who was there.” It was not a memorable meeting for anyone. “Now 13 months later, everyone expected that we should have perfect memory.”
Veselnitskaya was pushed after pushing to testify at a House of Representatives hearing held a few days after the Trump Tower meeting, on June 9, 2016.