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Donald Trump Jr.: Former Soviet Counterintelligence Officer Attended Meeting With Russian Lawyer

15 July 2017

One by one, President Trump's surrogates have dismissed a report by the New York Times showing emails between Trump Jr. and a business associate who indicated that the Russian lawyer had compromising information about Hillary Clinton. When asked why he didn't tell a reporter then that he had also attended the meeting with Trump Jr., he replied: "You didn't ask me".

Rinat Akhmetshin, who NBC identified as a Russian-American lobbyist, confirmed his participation to the Associated Press.

"The president has stated very clearly that he was not aware of the meeting and did not attend the meeting", Sekulow said. He says he will appear voluntarily before the panel. Veselnitskaya denies the meeting had anything to do with information she might have about 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton or that it was coordinated with the Russian government. The former adviser added that in general, there was more opposition research offered to the Trump campaign than he has ever seen in 30 years in elections.

Veselnitskaya said she also represented Russian property developer Aras Agalarov at the time of the meeting with Trump, Jr.

Sekulow pressed the point that the president was not in the meeting and had not been aware of it until recently.

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What about: Mr. Trump, you received an email that explicitly described a Russian government effort to help elect your father?

"We're sending a letter to request his presence", Grassley said.

However, Veselnitskaya has insisted that she did not attend the meeting as a representative of the Kremlin.

He said he "actually expected more serious" discussion.

BENNETT: So Rinat Akhmetshin is a Russian-American lobbyist. He left the military as a sergeant and said he did not have any ties to Russian intelligence.

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She said she brought with her a two-page document, one small part of which involved alleged D.N.C. funding issues.

Mr Akhmetshin did not respond to repeated inquiries from The Independent.

Although he denies having any current ties to Russian intelligence agencies, Akhmetshin, a Russian-born American who had served in the Soviet military before he emigrated to the US and still holds dual citizenship, is suspected by USA security agencies of maintaining previous ties to Russian intelligence. He said his unit operated in the Baltics and was "loosely part of counterintelligence". There are more reports today that there were still more Russians or Russian advocates in this meeting previous year, and it's not clear how many.

The reporter repeatedly asked Trump about his interaction with Putin regarding the Russian government's role in the United States election meddling. He said he is willing to talk with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A further three pages of emails show that arrangements were then made between the President's son and the contact, public relations specialist Rob Goldstone, to meet on June 9, 2016.

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Donald Trump Jr.: Former Soviet Counterintelligence Officer Attended Meeting With Russian Lawyer