Friday, 17 August, 2018

Senate Committee Releases 2500 Pages About 2016 Trump Tower Meeting

Thousands of pages of congressional testimony shed light on 2016 Trump Tower meeting Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York City on Jan. 18 2017
Ellis Copeland | 16 May, 2018, 22:10

- Donald Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee past year he did not recall ever discussing the Russia investigation with his father and said he didn't think there was anything wrong with meeting a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower ahead of the 2016 presidential election, according to transcripts released Wednesday of his interview with the panel.

The material, which includes interview transcripts and other "exhibits", is available here. "If I could scratch my last statement", Trump Jr. said, "yes, I did read about that after the fact".

The transcripts and notes reaffirm accounts of the meeting that people involved already have given - that Donald Trump Jr. and his compatriots sought "dirt" offered to them on Hillary Clinton and received at least one political intelligence tip but nothing as explosive as they had hoped.

Trump Jr. said he welcomed the chance for the public to review his testimony.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly honed in on both the meeting and the varied explanations the Trump team has offered about it as he investigates possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, as well as possible obstruction of that probe by the President.

"I appreciate the opportunity to have assisted the Judiciary Committee in its inquiry", Trump Jr. said in a statement, "The public can now see that for over five hours I answered every question asked and was candid and forthright with the Committee".

Trump Jr. then said the Russian lawyer turned the focus to Russian adoptions.

The meeting has been the subject of controversy, particularly the question of whether then-candidate Trump knew about it.

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The transcripts also included interviews with Glenn Simpson, a co-founder of Fusion GPS, which researched Trump's ties to Russia and produced a dossier denounced by the White House, and Robert Goldstone, a music publicist who said he had information about Clinton, and written responses to questions from the committee from Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer who attended the meeting, and Anatoli Samochornov, her translator. He did so after receiving emails that described an outreach, via a series of intermediaries, from Russia's top federal prosecutor, Yuri Chaika, offering help to the Trump campaign.

A Senate investigator asked Trump Jr. whether his father used a blocked number, and he said he did not know.

Members of Congress and the Justice Department are investigating.

Other attendees of the meeting provided a very different account of Kushner's role, however, according to transcripts of interviews released by the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

Goldstone had set up the meeting on behalf of Russian musical artist Emin Agaralov, the son of a wealthy Russian businessman, but revealed in his interview that he later told Agaralov that the meeting was "the most embarrassing thing you've ever asked me to do" given that it ended up having nothing to do with Clinton. "These materials, taken in their entirety, provide the most complete public picture of the events surrounding the meeting to date". Lawmakers wanted to know whether Trump Jr. knew of any interactions between Trump campaign personnel and Russian government officials.

In another indication that the meeting was not supposed to be a top-secret attempt for the Trump campaign to collude with Russia, Goldstone also revealed that he "checked in" to Trump Tower on Facebook when he arrived.

The Agalarovs had bonded with the Trumps during the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

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