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The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday released transcripts from a series of interviews with people present at the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and key members of the Trump presidential campaign in June 2016.
The meeting was arranged by Rob Goldstone, a music producer who represented the son of Aras Agalarov, the developer who hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in 2013, after Agalarov’s son Emin informed him that a Russian lawyer had “interesting information” on Hillary Clinton.
“Emin simply said that all he knew was that there was some potentially damaging information re: Hillary, which could be of interest to the Trumps. The words he used were ‘the Trumps,’” Goldstone told the committee, according to the transcripts.
At that point, Goldstone emailed President Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump, Jr. about setting up the meeting.
“The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” he wrote, based on emails released by Trump Jr. last year.
“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” he continued.
Trump Jr. responded, saying: “...if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
White House advisor Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort were forwarded the email chain ahead of the meeting. Both Manafort and Kushner were present at the meeting but were not interviewed by the committee.
According to the transcripts, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya never presented any information regarding Clinton to the group present at the meeting.
Instead, she began speaking about Russian adoptions and the Magnitsky Act, a statute that blocked Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses from entering the United States, froze any of their assets held by U.S. banks, and prevented their future use of U.S. banking systems.
“With respect, I suggest that you address your — what seemed very valid concerns but to the Obama administration because they actually are in power. My father is a private citizen and, as such, it has no validity of what you’re saying. Thank you very much for coming,” Trump Jr. then told Veselnitskaya, according to Goldstone’s transcript, and ended the meeting.
Others interviewed by the committee include Anatoli Samochornov, who served as the translator for Veselnitskaya, Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist and reported former Soviet military counterintelligence officer, and Ike Kaveladze, who represented Aras and Emin Agalarov at the meeting.
President Trump was not made aware of the meeting until after it had taken place, according to Trump Jr.’s account.