Donald Trump Jr.. Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner met with a lawyer tied to the Kremlin during the campaign. That is according to today’s New York Times in what is meant to be the scandal du jour. It was only recently disclosed. Interestingly, it was set up by Democrats. Reince Priebus suggested it was a set up during an interview on Fox News Sunday.
While Donald Trump Jr. organized the meeting, it was requested by a Fusion GPS associate.
The meeting took place at Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Kushner and Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney, on June 9, 2016. It last 20 minutes and was a “nothing” meeting according to Priebus. The meeting focused on adoptions in Russia.
This took place immediately after President Trump won the primary. The President was unaware of the meeting.
Donald Trump Jr. said he didn’t know who the participants in the meeting would be until he got there.
Organizers were Democrats, participants misrepresented who they were
The Trump team says participants in the meeting misrepresented themselves at the meeting. They also misrepresented who they worked for. The person who sought the meeting was Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS is the group that works with Democrats and who compiled the fake Trump-Russia dossier.
“We have learned from both our own investigation and public reports that the participants in the meeting misrepresented who they were and who they worked for,” Mark Corallo, spokesperson for Trump’s outside counsel, said in a statement released a few hours after the original New York Times story published.
“Specifically, we have learned that the person who sought the meeting is associated with Fusion GPS, a firm which according to public reports, was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the president and which commissioned the phony Steele dossier,” Corallo continued, referring to the strategic intelligence firm hired by anti-Trump Republicans, then by Democrats, to do opposition research on the candidate.
Fusion GPS has also worked with Russian lobbyists who are trying to overturn sanctions against Russian oligarchs. The company has also done a lot of work for the Democratic Party beyond compiling the dossier.
Fusion GPS is being investigated by a senate committee.
“These developments raise serious issues as to exactly who authorized and participated in any effort by Russian nationals to influence our election in any manner,” Corallo concluded.
This came out just as the President returned from a very successful G-20 Summit. Coming out today was very convenient. It distracts from the President’s successes abroad.
The hundreds of millions sent to a terrorist country by Barack Obama is what we should be looking at, not these fake news meetings.
Donald Trump Jr.’s statement
Donald Trump Jr. on Saturday described the meeting as brief and said it mostly concerned Americans’ ability to adopt Russian children.
“It was a short introductory meeting,” Trump Jr. said in a statement. “I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at that time and there was no follow up.
“I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand,” he added.
Jared Kushner’s explanation
The meeting was disclosed by Kushner recently. A senior White House aide re-submitted a form necessary for his security clearance. Kushner’s attorney Jamie Gorelick released a statement on Saturday regarding the revelation. He explained that the form was originally submitted before it should have been.
“As we have previously stated, Mr. Kushner’s SF-86 was prematurely submitted and, among other errors, did not list any contacts with foreign government officials,” he said in the statement.
“The next day, Mr. Kushner submitted supplemental information stating that he had had ‘numerous contacts with foreign officials’ about which he would be happy to provide additional information. He has since submitted this information, including that during the campaign and transition, he had over 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries, most of which were during transition,” the statement said.
“Mr. Kushner has submitted additional updates and included, out of an abundance of caution, this meeting with a Russian person, which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr.,” the statement continued. “As Mr. Kushner has consistently stated, he is eager to cooperate and share what he knows.”