- The Senate Judiciary Committee has released 2,500 pages of interview transcripts and other documents pertaining to a 2016 Trump Tower meeting
- Members of the Trump campaign and several Russians met in June 2016
- The meeting was a dud, according to attendees
The Senate Judiciary Committee has released 2,500 pages of interview transcripts and other documents pertaining to a June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between members of the Trump campaign and several Russians.
The document dump consists mostly of interview transcripts with six meeting attendees as well as exhibits and supplements to the witness interviews.
The interviews were conducted in 2017 as part of the Judiciary panel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the committee, has pushed for the release of the records since January.
Donald Trump Jr.’s transcript is included in the release. The real estate executive accepted the meeting after being approached through email by Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who worked for Emin Agalarov, an Azeri-Russian singer whose billionaire father has done business with President Donald Trump.
Goldstone, whose transcript is also included, told Trump Jr. that a Russian government attorney wanted to meet with the campaign in order to offer dirt on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“If it is what you say I love it,” Trump Jr. responded.
Committee Republicans released a summary of key takeaways from the interviews. They said that the witnesses all consistently testified that the main focus of the meeting was Bill Browder, a businessman who is behind the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law that punishes Russian human rights abusers.
Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer, has been an outspoken critic of Browder’s.
Meeting attendees who have commented publicly on the session have all denied that information about Clinton changed hands. They have also denied that any follow-up meetings occurred.
Democrats have argued the meeting could constitute collusion between the Russian government and Trump campaign. All of the participants who were interviewed denied that Russian efforts to interfere in the election were discussed.
Republicans have raised questions of their own about the meeting. That’s because Veselnitskaya and one of her associates, a Russian-American lobbyist named Rinat Akhmetshin, were working at the time of the meeting with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the Steele dossier.
Simpson was working with Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin to target Browder.
The link between Simpson and the Trump Tower attendees has raised questions about whether events inside the Trump Tower meeting are discussed in the dossier. Simpson has said he did not know about the Trump Tower meeting until it was reported by The New York Times in 2017. He has acknowledged meeting with Veseltnitskaya and Akhmetshin on the morning of the Trump Tower meeting. (RELATED: Oppo Researcher Behind The Dossier Is Linked To Pro-Kremlin Lobbying Effort)
Akhmethin and Anatoli Samochornov, a translator who worked on the anti-Magnitsky effort and attended the Trump Tower conclave, denied that Simpson was aware of the meeting.
Akhmetshin, a former Soviet military intelligence officer, has known Simpson for years, stretching back to Simpson’s stint as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal.
The Judiciary panel also released a 325-page transcript of an interview with Ike Kaveladze, an employee of the Agalarov family.
One page of notes that then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort took during the meeting is also included in the document trove. A 12-page statement from Jared Kushner was also released. (RELATED: Manafort’s Trump Tower Notes Lend Some Support To White House Claims About Meeting)
Veselnitskaya provided written responses to a list of committee questions in November. In her responses, she denied meeting with Simpson on the morning of the Trump Tower meeting. The discrepancy has still not been explained.