Gail Collins: 'Is Emin any good?' and other questions on Trumps, Russia

James Marshall
July 16, 2017

But the West Wing's defensive strategy rapidly began to unravel this week when it was reported that Donald Trump Jr., the president's oldest son, had a meeting previous year on June 9 in New York's Trump Tower with a Kremlin-connected attorney who was said to have information that would hurt Clinton's candidacy.

On June 9, 2016, Trump Jr., met with Veselnitskaya.

The meeting was arranged by music publicist Rob Goldstone, who emailed Trump Jr. that a "Russian government attorney" could provide dirt on the Clinton campaign as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump", according to an email conversation shared publicly by Trump Jr.

Akhmetshin is a dual U.S.

She told the men that she believed the information could help the Trump campaign. He remarked that the recent reaction to the meeting is "a little bit ridiculous and overplayed", but said he would have done things differently. She said the Trump campaign would need to research it more and, after that, Trump Jr. lost interest, Akhmetshin said.

"When I read those e-mails from Donald Trump Jr. and the exchange, to me one of the things that stands out is he's being told apparently for the first time--but he doesn't sound like he is all that surprised by it--that the Russian government is backing his father". I think he took it into consideration and agreed with it. She said she had a two-page document which touched on the DNC funding allegations but primarily dealt with certain sanctions against Russian Federation.

"You know, when I needed negative information about Hillary Clinton, I didn't have to go very far", she said during the interview.

Regarding the substance, Akhmetshin said that in the course of her work for clients, Veselnitskaya had discovered that a USA hedge fund which "seemed linked to the (Democratic National Committee)" was operating in violation of Russian tax and securities law.

Akhmetshin's lobbying caught the attention of Sen.

The June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort included at least eight people.

"I told (Putin). I said, look, we can't - we can't have - now, he said absolutely not twice". Trump Jr. has said he is willing to testify voluntarily, but Grassley said he would be subpoenaed if need be.

Trump Jr. has dismissed suggestions he did anything wrong by meeting with Veselnitskaya.

Separately, the campaign also paid Jones Day, the law firm that represented Trump's campaign during the election.

Grassley said no questions would be off limits as the panel investigates what the USA intelligence community has concluded was Moscow's election interference, personally directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, into the 2016 US election.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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