An unnamed eight person was at the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last June, according to Trump Jr.’s attorney Alan Futerfas, who told CNN’s Pamela Brown that the individual, an American citizen who was not employed by the Russian government, was there on behalf of the Agalarovs who had requested the meeting be set up.
“That’s politics!” President Trump described the Trump Jr.-Veselnitskaya meeting last year as routine via Twitteryesterday, an assertion subsequently repeated by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Maggie Haberman reports at the New York Times.
There was nothing that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything except for “a discussion about adoption and the Magnitsky Act” during the meeting last year, Spicer insisted yesterday, Matthew Nussbaum reports at POLITICO.
The lawyer hired by the White House to handle the Russia probe did not sign off on Trump’s tweetdefending the meeting his son held during his campaign, Spicer confirmed yesterday, Jordan Fabian reports at the Hill.
“Don’t you get it, guys?” The Trumps need to realize that anything potentially damaging to them will come out in the Trump-Russia investigations being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller and the House and Senate intelligence committees and denouncing leaks as “fake news” will not succeed as a counter-strategy. The Wall Street Journal editorial board urges the president to change tactics to a strategy of “radical transparency.”
The master of “kompromat” – the Russian tactic of spreading damaging information to discredit a rival or an enemy – Yuri Y. Chaika is widely considered to have been the source of the incriminating information on Hillary Clinton that Donald Trump Jr. was offered at the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last year, which makes it strange that – by the accounts of those present at that meeting – the information fell flat, writes Andrew E. Kramer at the New York Times.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has filed three updates to his national security questionnaire since he submitted it in mid-January – significant because submitting false information is a federal crime and, through the lens of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of potential Trump-Russia collusion, could be viewed as attempts to cover up meetings with Russian officials, explains Matt Zapotosky at the Washington Post.