Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Senate panel releases interview transcripts with Trump Jr

How to read the roughly 2000 pages of documents the Senate just released on Don Jr.'s Trump Tower meeting with a And now, the Trump Tower transcripts
Kenny Thornton | 16 May, 2018, 22:08

Jared Kushner's account of showing little interest in an infamous Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer promising "dirt" on Hillary Clinton was contradicted by multiple witnesses who also attended the June 2016 meeting.

Trump Jr. deflected multiple questions during the interview, saying "No, not that I recall" when asked if he discussed the Russian Federation probe with his father.

The almost 2,000 pages of interviews do not appear to contain information that would change the course of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump's team and Russian Federation.

About 2,500 pages of documents were released on Wednesday, including the interviews with Trump Jr. and Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who arranged the meeting and said in text messages it was part of a Russian government effort to aid the Trump campaign.

The committee did not interview Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer at the centre of the meeting.

The panel was also not able to interview Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, or Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, though both attended. From there, he said. the discussion turned to Russian complaints about the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions Russians for human-rights violations, and a ban Russia imposed in response on American adoptions of Russian children.

The special counsel is investigating the Russian meddling in the election, whether Trump's campaign was involved and possible obstruction of justice. The meeting, and the administration's initial response to reports of it, have been one focus of the probe.

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Like Trump Jr. and Kushner, who released a public statement about the meeting a year ago, Goldstone said the meeting was disappointing.

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.

"The June 9, 2016, meeting is one piece of a much larger puzzle and confirms that the Trump campaign was willing to accept Russia's assistance", the Democrats said in a collective statement.

"I did not collude with any foreign government and do not know of anyone who did", the president's son also said in the interview with the committee's staff on September 7, 2017. "I never spoke to my father about it". The documents contain a record of closed-door committee interviews with five of the eight meeting attendees, including Trump Jr., Goldstone, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, translator Anatoli Samochornov and Ike Kaveladze, a Russian with ties to oligarch Aras Agalarov.

President Trump and his staff have insisted he was not involved in the meeting, but the Washington Post in late July 2017 reported that the President dictated his son's first misleading statement about the meeting to the New York Times, saying the meeting was about adoptions and not campaign-related issues.

Kushner, who Grassley previously said had been "spooked" out of testifying, and Manafort, who has since been indicted on money laundering and assorted other charges, didn't appear before the committee.

He said the organisation would "reach out on a few occasions, sort of passing along news" and suggesting that he tweet it. Mr Trump Jr said he thinks the only time he responded was to say: "Hey, when (am I) going to receive the next leak"?

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