Weekly Review — July 13, 2017, 2:59 pm

Weekly Review

Donald Trump Jr. meets with a Kremlin-connected lawyer…

Donald Trump Jr., the eldest child of former vodka salesman and current U.S. president Donald Trump, was reported to have met during his father’s campaign with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with alleged ties to the Kremlin who once referred to liberalism in the United States as a “fucking mental disorder.”[1][2][3] Donald Jr., who once said he prefers “Moscow over all cities in the world,” issued a statement claiming that the meeting was “primarily” about “the adoption of Russian children.”[4][5] White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, who previously said conversations between Russian officials and associates of the Trump campaign “never happened,” told a journalist that “nobody said the word ‘opposition research,’” and Donald Jr. tweeted that he went to the meeting with Veselnitskaya in order to “hear information about an opponent.”[6][7][8] White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said the meeting was a “big nothing burger,” an ethics lawyer for the administration of former president George W. Bush said the meeting “borders on treason,” and Donald Jr. hired as legal representation Alan Futerfas, a criminal attorney who has previously represented associates of the Gambino and Genovese crime families, which in the late 1970s sold Trump the overpriced concrete used to build Trump Tower, where the meeting between Donald Jr. and Veselnitskaya occurred.[9][10][11][12] Donald Jr. learned from reporters that emails he had sent about the meeting would be published; issued a second statement claiming that the meeting was organized by “an acquaintance” from the Miss Universe pageant, which Trump once owned, along with the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants and a modeling agency accused by a former employee of practicing “modern-day slavery”; and then revealed that the acquaintance was Rob Goldstone, the agent of Emin Agalarov, an Azerbaijani pop star whose video for the song “In Another Life” featured Trump firing him and whose father is Aras Agalarov, a billionaire who owned the Moscow venue where Trump held his 2013 Miss Universe pageant and who once planned with Trump to build a Trump-branded tower in Russia, a project that according to Goldstone was led by Donald Jr. until it was canceled because “the economy tanked in Russia” as a result of U.S. sanctions, which Trump’s former national-security adviser unlawfully discussed with the Russian ambassador while he was a member of Trump’s transition team.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19] Donald Jr. wrote that his father, who days before the meeting with Veselnitskaya had told the press he would soon announce incriminating information about his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, “knew nothing of the meeting”; and that during the meeting he received “no meaningful information” to help his father, who then did not announce any incriminating information about Clinton.[20][21] Donald Jr. wrote of the meeting that Veselnitskaya’s “true agenda” was to discuss the Magnitsky Act, a piece of U.S. legislation that imposed sanctions on 18 Russian officials believed to be responsible for the death of an accountant who uncovered a $230 million money-laundering scheme; that he “advised” Veselnitskaya that “her concerns were better addressed if and when” Trump “held public office”; and said that he had “no further contact” with Veselnitskaya, who continued after the meeting to represent Denis Katsyv, a Russian businessman who was charged in Manhattan with participating in the money-laundering scheme, until the case was settled out of court after Trump ascended to the presidency and fired the prosecutor.[22][23][24][25] Veselnitskaya said that she never offered Donald Jr. any information on Clinton and denied that she worked for the Russian government, it was reported that U.S. prosecutors had evidence Veselnitskaya told a Moscow lawyer working to expose the money-laundering scheme that he would face consequences from Russia’s intelligence agency if he continued his efforts, and a lawyer who claimed to have discovered new evidence of the money-laundering scheme said that his fall from the fourth-floor balcony of his Moscow home two months before Katsyv’s case was settled was “no accident.”[26][27][28][29] Donald Jr. said that he wanted to be “transparent,” then tweeted copies of his email exchanges with Goldstone, which revealed that Goldstone had offered to set up a meeting between Donald Jr. and a “Russian government attorney”; that the attorney would provide “information” to “incriminate Hillary Clinton,” to which Donald Jr. replied “I love it”; that Goldstone said he would “send the names” of the people attending the meeting ahead of time to Donald Jr., who later claimed he “did not know” Veselnitskaya’s name before the meeting; that Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who Donald Jr. had claimed attended the meeting without knowing what it was about, received the emails; and that Donald Jr. attended the meeting about two weeks before he said that the Clinton campaign’s claims that the Democratic National Committee was hacked by Russia were “lies” that were “so phony” and “disgusting.”[30][31][32][33] Republican senator Orrin Hatch said Donald Jr. is a “nice young man,” and Donald Jr. said he was “in the learning curve” when he accepted assistance in writing from the Russian government for his father’s U.S. presidential campaign via an email exchange with Goldstone, who was a former judge for Miss USA and who once wrote that when an “idiotic child” falls into the hands of a 440-pound gorilla, he should be “shot.”[34][35][36][37]

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