In a series of reports released over three days, the New York Times, citing White House sources, revealed an extraordinary meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer with connections to the Kremlin. The meeting was also attended by two top campaign aides, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner.
Eventually, we learned that this meeting was set up through the son of a Russian billionaire, Emin Agalarov, through his publicist, Rod Goldstone. Trump and Trump Jr. met both men through the 2013 Miss Universe competition, which was held in Moscow.
Trump Jr. was told that the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had damaging information about Hillary Clinton. In an email, Trump Jr. was informed prior to the meeting “that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy.”
Notably, various parties involved in the meeting have told at least seven lies about the nature and substance of the meeting.
1. In March, Trump Jr. denied ever meeting with a Russian national as a representative of the campaign
Trump Jr. told the New York Times in March that he never met with any Russian where “I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.” This meeting was taken in his campaign capacity. He was seeking damaging information about his father’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, and invited the campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a top campaign adviser, his brother-in-law Jared Kushner.
2. In March, Trump Jr. denied ever discussing government policies related to Russia as a representative of the campaign
Trump Jr. also told the New York Times that if he ever met with a Russian in his private capacity he never “discussed government policies related to Russia.” Trump Jr. has admitted that a topic of discussion at his meeting with Veselnitskaya was the Magnitsky Act, legislation that imposes sanctions of Russian nationals for human rights violations. The repeal of the Magnitsky Act is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top priorities.
3. Trump Jr. initially told the New York Times that the primary topic of the meeting was “the adoption of Russian children.”
In his initial statement, Trump Jr. said that he “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government.” Later, Trump Jr. admitted that he went to the meeting for the purpose of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton and was disappointed when Veselnitskaya was allegedly not able to produce it.
Obviously I'm the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent… went nowhere but had to listen. https://t.co/ccUjL1KDEa
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 10, 2017
4. Goldstone, who arranged the meeting, denied any knowledge of involvement from the Russian government.
Rod Goldstone, the music publicist who helped broker the meeting initially “denied any knowledge of involvement by the Russian government in the matter.” When confronted by the New York Times with his email describing the involvement of the Russian government, he stopped responding to inquiries.
5. Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer, “denied that the campaign or compromising material about Mrs. Clinton ever came up.”
Veselnitskaya told the New York Times that “nothing at all about the presidential campaign” was discussed at the meeting. She later admitted to NBC News that the topic did come up, although she claims she was unable to produce the information.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 11, 2017
6. Kushner omitted the meeting from the federal disclosures required to get a security clearance.
Jared Kushner failed to disclose the meeting in the forms he submitted to obtain his security clearance as a White House adviser. That means that these forms, as submitted, were false. Kushner’s lawyer said he revised his forms to include this information.