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Another Russian Attended the Trump Jr. Meeting

15 Julio 2017, 12:54 | Bibiana Flor

Trump Jr. has since stated that the attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya was expected to deliver opposition research on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but instead focused on adoption policies.

NBC News did not name the lobbyist, but The Associated Press reported that he is Rinat Akhmetshin.

"I am an American citizen since 2009 who pays taxes, earned his citizenship after living here since 1994, and swore an oath of loyalty to the United States of America", he previously told Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty in an email. He has served in the Soviet military in a unit, which works closely with the counterintelligence department.

Congress is asking the president's son to publicly testify about the meeting. Trump Jr. didn't disclose Akhmetshin's presence in several public statements on the meeting. He said he showed up in jeans and a T-shirt.

Akhmetshin said the lawyer, who invited him to attend, had a plastic folder with documents that detailed her claims.

"He didn't say that", Mr. Trump said. "No".

The president's legal team has said he was not aware of and did not attend the meeting. He said that Veselnitskaya "left a document behind" after the session.

"She said, 'Why don't you come with me?' I said, 'really?' We were having lunch a few blocks north of Trump Tower".

According to CNN's report, the Trump administration's response to the ordeal is partly what spurred acrimony among staffers in the White House. But to the inexperienced minds of Kushner and Trump Jr., the calculation may have been as simple (and feeble) as: Why not?

He said there were others in the room but he didn't know them. The meeting was set up through Rob Goldstone, a British publicist, who promised Trump Jr. CNN has reached out to Akhmetshin for comment.

A spokesman for Manafort, Jason Maloni, declined to comment. She did not respond to additional attempts to contact her Friday. The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said he was disturbed by the news.

The revelation of the meeting would be the most tangible evidence yet of a connection between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation, a subject that has also prompted an investigation by a federal special counsel.

Yahoo's report immediately raised questions about 1) whether Kushner was required to print out the initial security clearance form and sign it himself or sign the form electronically and 2) why it took him almost four months to amend the SF-86 form after an unnamed staffer supposedly accidentally hit the "send" button. The FBI, which approves security clearances, interviewed Kushner about the matter in mid-May, according to Yahoo.

Contacted by RFE/RL, a representative for Veselnitskaya in Russian Federation said on July 14 she was too "busy" to comment on the Akhmetshin reports. "I never thought this would be such a big deal, to be honest", he told the AP. He also denied ever serving as a Russian counterintelligence officer, as he has been described in some media reports. While an increasing number of Republicans have spoken out against Donald Trump, they have remained shy of calling for impeachment, and it appears there would still need to be a sizable shift in the political landscape for that to happen, pundits note.

In March, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley raised questions about whether Akhmetshin should have registered as a foreign agent for lobbying congressional staffers to repeal the Magnitsky Act.

News reports the former Soviet counter intelligence officer is a "Russian-American lobbyist" who "is suspected by some USA officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence". He said he didn't believe he needed to file.

Trump Jr.'s claim that he didn't tell his father about the meeting rather strains credulity, don't you think?



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