Report: Former Soviet Intelligence Officer Attended Trump Jr Meeting

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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A former Soviet military officer and Russian-American lobbyist attended a July 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr., ostensibly brokered to provide Kremlin-procured opposition research on Hillary Clinton to the Trump 2016 campaign, NBC News reports.

The Russian-American lobbyist accompanied Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to the meeting, which was also attended by presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and then Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Trump Jr. originally maintained that the meeting focused on restoring American adoption of Russian children and the rollback of U.S. sanctions on Russia.

Emails subsequently released from Trump Jr. himself reveal a former acquaintance of his brokered the meeting with Veselnitskaya under the auspices of giving damaging information on Clinton to the campaign. The emails explicitly mention Veselnitskaya’s supposed connection to the Russian government and cast it as an attempt by the Russians to help the Trump campaign.

“He is a U.S. citizen. He told me specifically he was not working for the Russian government, and in fact laughed when I asked him that question,” Trump Jr.’s lawyer Alan Futerfas told NBCNews. Futerfas added that Trump Jr. was unaware of the former military officer’s identity.

The former military officer is presumably Rinat Akhmetshin, Yahoo Finance editor Michael B Kelly noted on twitter in the aftermath of the story.

Kelly noted Akhmetshin’s past work with Veselnitskaya on sanctions related to the U.S. and past reporting suspecting him of having contact with the Russian government.

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