Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr. during his father's 2016 presidential campaign, denied speaking with the president's son about former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“As I’ve said before, [the meeting] had nothing to do with [Trump’s] rivals or the presidential elections,” Veselnitskaya, according to The Moscow Times on Friday, told Russian state television. Veselnitskaya contradicted Trump Jr.'s account of what she said was an “innocent” meeting, to which he says he was lured with potentially damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
“I asked for help. Help to spread a story that I had come across in my professional capacity," Veselnitskaya also said.
Instead, Veselnitskaya claimed, she focused on representing her client and Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, who faced money laundering charges related to the Magintsky Act.
The Magnitsky Act, signed in 2012 by former President Barack Obama, issued sanctions against individuals allegedly involved with lawyer Sergei Magnitsky's death. Early reports about Trump Jr.'s meeting indicated he discussed that law with Veselnitskaya.
Those reports, which started a media frenzy fueling speculation that Trump Jr. might have colluded with the Kremlin, alleged Trump Jr. took the meeting knowing that the Kremlin sought to help his father beat Clinton.
As the Washington Times noted, other Trump associates were present at the meeting. Both Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort and White House advisor Jared Kushner attended but later denied wrongdoing.