When President Donald Trump’s eldest son met with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 after being promised “information that would incriminate” Trump’s election opponent Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. suggested that a U.S. law the lawyer was lobbying against could be reconsidered if Trump became president, according to the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.
“The meeting was a failure; none of us understood what the point of it had been,” she told Bloomberg in an interview on Monday, referring to the meeting that Trump Jr. initially claimed was about the Magnitsky Act, which Congress passed in 2012 to punish Russian officials for human rights abuses.
“Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it,’’ Trump Jr. said during the meeting, according to Veselnitskaya. “I understand our side may have messed up, but it’ll take a long time to get to the bottom of it.”
Veselnitskaya also claimed that he wanted “financial documents showing that money that allegedly evaded U.S. taxes had gone to Clinton’s campaign,” according to Bloomberg. But she said that she did not have them.
Alan Futerfas, Trump Jr.’s lawyer, said he had no comment on Bloomberg’s story.
The June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, which The New York Times uncovered this summer, has drawn close scrutiny from the multiple investigations into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia last year.
Trump Jr. took the meeting, which was also attended by Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, after being told that the information on Clinton was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,’’ according to emails he released in response to the Times’ reporting.
“If it is what you say, I love it,” he replied in an email to music publicist Rob Goldstone, who arranged the meeting through one of his clients, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov.
Trump Jr.’s explanation for the meeting repeatedly changed. He initially claimed that it concerned adoptions, referring to the Russian government banning Americans from adopting Russian children, in retaliation for the Magnitsky Act.
Veselnitskaya told Bloomberg that she would be willing to meet with the Senate Judiciary Committee and with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, which are both conducting investigations into the Trump campaign.