Details about a previously undisclosed meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin have surfaced, The New York Times reports.
According to advisers, Trump Jr. attended the meeting after being promised information that would be damaging to his father’s presidential campaign opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The meeting — which was held in June of last year, two weeks after Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination — was first reported by The Times on Saturday and is the first confirmed private meeting between Trump’s inner circle and the Russians.
Trump Jr. said that he met with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, at the request of an acquaintance from the Miss Universe pageant. When they met, he said the lawyer “stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”
Veselnitskaya denied that the presidential campaign was discussed during the meeting and said she “never acted on behalf of the Russian government.”
The lawyer’s clients include several businesses owned by the Kremlin. She is also known for her campaign against the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law that blacklists Russian human rights abusers. Trump Jr. told The Times he believes discussing the Magnitsky Act was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting.”
This is a different account of the meeting than the one Trump Jr. gave on Saturday, when he claimed it was just a brief introductory talk.
Read the full report from the New York Times here.