Saturday, July 8, 2017

Leaky, Leaky

Two weeks after Donald J. Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination last year, his eldest son arranged a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan with a Russian lawyer who has connections to the Kremlin, according to confidential government records described to The New York Times.

The previously unreported meeting was also attended by Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, as well as the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to interviews and the documents, which were outlined by people familiar with them.

While President Trump has been dogged by revelations of undisclosed meetings between his associates and Russians, this episode at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, is the first confirmed private meeting between a Russian national and members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle during the campaign. It is also the first time that his son Donald Trump Jr. is known to have been involved in such a meeting.

Representatives of Donald Trump Jr. and Mr. Kushner confirmed the meeting after The Times approached them with information about it. In a statement, Donald Jr. described the meeting as primarily about an adoption program. The statement did not address whether the presidential campaign was discussed.

An adoption program?
The Russian lawyer invited to the Trump Tower meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, is best known for mounting a multipronged attack against the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers. The law so enraged Mr. Putin that he retaliated by halting American adoptions of Russian children.
So this was so important to the Trump team that before he was even elected president, they called a meeting with a Russian lawyer connected to the Kremlin to talk about it at Trump Tower?
[I]n addition to banning American adoptions, compiled what became known as an “anti-Magnitsky” blacklist of United States citizens.

Among those blacklisted was Preet Bharara, then the United States attorney in Manhattan, who led high-profile convictions of Russian arms and drug dealers. Mr. Bharara was abruptly fired in March, after previously being asked to stay on by Mr. Trump.
For one thing, Bharara was too close to the cases that are most likely to reveal the Trump organization (and perhaps the Trumps themselves) were involved in money laundering with Russian gangsters. And perhaps somebody with a Russian name "suggested" Bharara be fired to get him out of the way of the Russian gangsters, and Trump obliged.
Ms. Veselnitskaya is married to a former deputy transportation minister of the Moscow region, and her clients include state-owned businesses and a senior government official’s son, whose company was under investigation in the United States at the time of the meeting. Her activities and associations had previously drawn the attention of the F.B.I., according to a former senior law enforcement official.
Sure, that'd be the person I'd suggest they bring in. Whether the Trumps intentionally and knowingly colluded with the Russians to get Trump elected can be argued - personally, at this point, I now think they did.  But if they didn't, it is without a doubt they're not smart enough to know when they're being played by the Russians.  Not the people you want heading the US government either way.
In his statement, Donald Trump Jr. said: “It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We 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, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up.”
So why the eff would you have that meeting about it then?
The Trump Tower meeting was not disclosed to government officials until recently, when Mr. Kushner, who is also a senior White House aide, filed a revised version of a form required to obtain a security clearance. The Times reported in April that he had failed to disclose any foreign contacts, including meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States and the head of a Russian state bank. Failure to report such contacts can result in a loss of access to classified information and even, if information is knowingly falsified or concealed, in imprisonment.


In a statement on Saturday, Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said: “ [...] Mr. Kushner has submitted additional updates and included, out of an abundance of caution, this meeting with a Russian person, which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law Donald Trump Jr. As Mr. Kushner has consistently stated, he is eager to cooperate and share what he knows.”
Jared's suddenly crossing his t's and dotting his i's. Can you say "Special Prosecutor"?
Mr. Manafort, the former campaign chairman, also recently disclosed the meeting, and Donald Trump Jr.’s role in organizing it, to congressional investigators who had questions about his foreign contacts, according to people familiar with the events.


[A] quick internet search would have revealed Ms. Veselnitskaya as a formidable operator with a history of pushing the Kremlin’s agenda.


“She’s not just some private lawyer,” Mr. Browder said of Ms. Veselnitskaya. “She is a tool of the Russian government.”

And frankly, I don't even know what the hell this means:

It's all the Democrats' fault???  Who is "the person who sought the meeting?"  Was it not Donnie Jr.? Did he mention anyone else asking for the meeting?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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