Rumors about what attorney Michael Cohen may say to special counsel investigators have sparked new interest in a meeting that took place between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian attorney.
CNN reported that former Trump attorney Cohen will say then-candidate Donald Trump knew about his son’s 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney at Trump Tower in New York. Don Jr. has denied telling his father about the meeting.
“Sources now telling CNN his former fixer Michael Cohen claims then candidate Trump, despite the many denials since, knew in advance about that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting,” CNN’s Jake Tapper reported. Tapper did not reveal or give any clues as to who those sources may be.
Cohen has not been quoted as saying President Trump was aware of the meeting.
The meeting in question was called by private Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskay, who was curiously allowed entry into the country by the Obama administration.
“The Russian lawyer who penetrated Donald Trump’s inner circle was initially cleared into the United States by the Justice Department under ‘extraordinary circumstances’ before she embarked on a lobbying campaign last year that ensnared the president’s eldest son,” reported The Hill in 2017. “This revelation means it was the Obama Justice Department that enabled the newest and most intriguing figure in the Russia-Trump investigation to enter the country without a visa.”
The meeting was arranged by Rob Goldstone, a British publicist for a famous Russian pop star. In emails to Trump Jr, Goldstone reportedly said his client’s father had information that could be “very useful to your father.”
“Trump Jr. said… the meeting was set up on the premise that Veselnitskaya would provide damaging information on Clinton, but he said that material was never presented. Instead, he said, in a roughly 30-minute meeting Veselnitskaya pivoted to discussing the Magnitsky Act, a US law blacklisting Russians accused of human-rights abuses that so enraged Putin that he retaliated by barring US citizens from adopting Russian children,” Business Insider reported last year.
Trump Jr. has been upfront about the meeting, even providing to the press the email exchanges that led up to the meeting.
Several media outlets, including the BBC, focused on the one line in the emails that “mentioned a foreign government’s support for Mr Trump.” But this concern seems to be another double standard. In 2004, the media downplayed Sen. John Kerry’s announcement that he had support from several foreign leaders in his quest for the White House. “I’ve met foreign leaders who can’t go out and say this publicly, but boy they look at you and say, ‘You’ve got to win this, you’ve got to beat this guy, we need a new policy.’ Things like that,” Kerry said to supporters in Florida.
Regardless of whether or not then-candidate Trump had knowledge of the Trump Jr. meeting, there is no indication — or accusation — that any crime was committed by the Trump family.