As Jen Hayden correctly anticipated, the “former spy” who took part in Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting was Rinat Akhmetshin, a lobbyist working with attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya. But while Akhmetshin calls any claim that he’s still part of Russian intelligence “a smear,” his characterization of events in the meeting are miles away from the claims of Donald Trump Jr.
During the meeting, Akhmetshin said Veselnitskaya brought with her a plastic folder with printed-out documents that detailed what she believed was the flow of illicit funds to the Democratic National Committee. Veselnitskaya presented the contents of the documents to the Trump associates and suggested that making the information public could help the Trump campaign, he said.
The email that Donald Trump Jr. received prompting him to set up the meeting promised …
… to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and could be very useful to your father.
This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and it’s government’s support for Mr. Trump …
According to Akhmetshin, that’s exactly what Veselnitskaya provided.
Donald Trump Jr. has lied about every aspect of the meeting over, and over, and over. Even as more information has come to light, even with the release of the emails, he has still attempted to characterize the meeting as unimportant and a waste of time that “went nowhere.” Those statements also appear to be blatant, indefensible lies. And the information Veselnitskaya handed over, appears to be emails hacked from the DNC.
“This could be a good issue to expose how the DNC is accepting bad money,” Akhmetshin recalled her saying.
Trump Jr. has repeatedly stated that the meeting was brief, and noted that Kushner left the room mid-meeting. The implication was that the meeting was so pointless that:
“It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame.”
But Akhmetshin paints a picture that’s 180 degrees removed …
Trump Jr. asked the attorney if she had all the evidence to back up her claims, including whether she could demonstrate the flow of the money. But Veselnitskaya said the Trump campaign would need to research it more. After that, Trump Jr. lost interest, according to Akhmetshin.
“They couldn’t wait for the meeting to end,” he said.
It was after Veselnitskaya put the documents from the Russian government in their hands, that Kushner hustled out of the room. Trump Jr. was only disappointed that it didn’t come with footnotes.
The brevity of the meeting, and Kushner’s abrupt departure, end up looking a lot more like excitement at getting this information out to other people than disinterest in what was offered.
- Donald Trump Jr. was offered “sensitive” Russian government information on Hillary Clinton.
- He accepted the meeting, saying he “loved it.”
- Natalia Veselnitskaya arrived at the meeting with a folder of documents that appear to be early examples of the information hacked from the DNC.
- Veselnitskaya presented this information to Trump, Manafort and Kushner.
Asked about Akhmetshin’s participation in the meeting, Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni declined comment. A spokesman for Kushner did not respond to inquiries, nor did Trump Jr.’s attorney.