An ex-Soviet intelligence officer also attended the Russia meeting at Trump Tower
On Friday morning, NBC reported the latest details about the sordid June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meet-and-greet between the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer acting on behalf of the Kremlin: Said lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was accompanied by a former Soviet counter intelligence officer.
Veselnitskaya confirmed to NBC that she was accompanied by at least one man, but wouldn’t say who that was. NBC is not naming the person either, but Twitter is buzzing with the news that the plus-one in question is Rinat Akhmetshin:
The other person in the room during Trump Jr. meeting was Rinat Akhmetshin, known provocateur
— Michael Adams (@mla1396) July 14, 2017
It’s possible Rinat Akhmetshin was the 5th person at the Trump Jr. meeting. He’s a lead lobbyist for the HRAGIF. https://t.co/JFnLZAhzWX
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) July 14, 2017
Apropos of nothing, here’s a profile of Rinat Akhmetshin https://t.co/iBITFUGpts
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) July 14, 2017
— Michael B Kelley (@MichaelBKelley) July 14, 2017
This new tidbit is surely to be of interest to Robert Mueller, as he continues his “witch hunt” into the Trump White House’s ties to the Kremlin. According to NBC:
The meeting was arranged between Trump Jr. and music publicist Rob Goldstone, who has ties to Russia. In an email exchange released by Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son wrote “I love it” when told about possibly getting his hands on material potentially damaging to the Clinton campaign.
Goldstone told Trump Jr. that the meeting would be with a “Russian government attorney” and that the information was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. responded enthusiastically, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
When asked about the situation with his son during a press conference in Paris on Thursday, Trump took a break from ogling Brigitte Macron to describe his son as “a wonderful young man” (probably for the first time) and stated that “He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer, not a government lawyer but a Russian lawyer. From a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. It’s called opposition research or research into your opponent.”
“Fredo,” on the other hand, has admitted that “in retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently.”
Trump Jr.’s lawyer did not respond to NBC’s multiple requests for comment on the story, while representatives for both Kushner and Manafort declined to give their two cents. Which they should probably be saving up to trade for cigarettes anyway.
Update: The Associated Press has confirmed the identity of the lobbyist as Rinat Akhmetshin, and reported he has acknowledged attending the meeting. Trump Jr. also told NBC News that a sixth, previously unmentioned person also attended the meeting to act as a translator.