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Politics Donald Trump Jr.’s Russian Connection Has Ties to Former Kremlin Spies

04:55  12 july  2017
04:55  12 july  2017 Source:   thedailybeast.com

Timeline: Donald Trump Jr.'s contact with Russian lawyer

  Timeline: Donald Trump Jr.'s contact with Russian lawyer A New York Times report on Sunday disclosed that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer who had ties to the Kremlin after being promised harmful information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.It's the latest bombshell to drop amid oIt's the latest bombshell to drop amid ongoing investigations into Russia's attempt to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and potential ties between President Trump's campaign staff and the Kremlin.

The Russian lawyer who peddled dirt on Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump Jr . has ties to former Russian military and intelligence officials, a key congressional committee will hear in testimony next week.

A New York Times report on Sunday disclosed that Donald Trump Jr . met with a Russian lawyer who had ties to the Kremlin after being promised harmful information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary

Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaks to journalists in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Veselnitskaya admits she met with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 presidential campaign, but insists that she had no compromising information on Hillary Clinton to offer in contrast to what the email exchange released by Trump's eldest son suggested.© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaks to journalists in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Veselnitskaya admits she met with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 presidential campaign, but insists that she had no compromising information on Hillary Clinton to offer in contrast to what the email exchange released by Trump's eldest son suggested.

The Russian lawyer who peddled dirt on Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump Jr. has ties to former Russian military and intelligence officials, a key congressional committee will hear in testimony next week.

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William Browder, an American financier who has investigated Russian corruption for more than a decade, will brief the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing next week on the lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s ties to the Russian government—including to former top members of the GRU and the FSB, two of the Kremlin’s main intelligence agencies. Those ties were spelled out in documents that Browder shared with the committee and provided to The Daily Beast this week.

Russia mulls 'specific' response to U.S. expulsion of diplomats

  Russia mulls 'specific' response to U.S. expulsion of diplomats Russia is considering retaliatory measures after the United States expelled 35 of its diplomats in December, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said."We are thinking about specific steps, and I don't believe that this should be discussed publicly," Lavrov told journalists in a televised briefing.

Has Ties to Former Kremlin Spies The lawyer who offered up Hillary dirt to the Trump If you join our community you will most surely have fun with us on our forums, shoutboxes e.t.c who offered up Hillary dirt to the Trump campaign totally swears she doesn’t work for the Russian government.

Lachlan Markay Posted at 9:40 am on July 12, 2017. thedailybeast.com/ donald - trump -jrs- russian - connection - has - ties - to - former - kremlin - spies .

Veselnitskaya may have had her own agenda in requesting a meeting with Trump,” according Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former CIA officer who led the agency’s European directorate of operations. “But Russian intelligence practice is to co-opt such a person by arming them with secret intelligence information and tasking them to pass it to Trump’s people and get their reaction.”

“The key point is that essentially no Russian citizen or lawyer has compromising material on Hillary Clinton which has not been supplied to them from Russian intelligence,” Mowatt-Larssen wrote on Tuesday. “The simple assertion that she had such information is tantamount to declaring that Veselnitskaya was acting as agent of Russian government in this particular role.”

Opinion | Why in the world would Donald Trump Jr. take this meeting?

  Opinion | Why in the world would Donald Trump Jr. take this meeting? Warning bells should have been ringing. Recall the front-page headlines and months of investigations over money from Chinese nationals that ended up in the coffers of the Democratic National Committee. Granted, Trump Jr.’s second statement does not specifically state that he knew in advance that the mystery guest at the meeting — Natalia Veselnitskaya, a lawyer with close ties to the Kremlin — would be Russian. But that seems a fair presumption given that Trump Jr.’s relationship with the intermediary stemmed from their dealings in Russia.

Donald Trump Jr . had denied participating in any campaign-related meetings with Russian nationals when he was interviewed by The Times in A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump Team Met With Lawyer Tied to Kremlin Amid ’16 Race.

The June 3, 2016, email sent to Donald Trump Jr . could hardly have been more explicit: One of his father’ s former Russian business partners had been contacted by a senior Russian government official and was offering to provide the Trump campaign with dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Five days after Veselnitskaya met with Trump Jr. and other senior members of the Trump campaign, the Democratic National Committee revealed that its email servers had been hacked. The culprits, U.S. intelligence would later announce publicly, were Russian hackers working on behalf of the country's military intelligence agency, the GRU, and its Federal Security Service, or FSB.

The documents provided by Browder delve into the backgrounds of attorneys, lobbyists, and business executives behind what Browder says is a concerted push by the Russian government to roll back U.S. sanctions imposed in 2012. That network is also at the center of new evidence that Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, solicited damaging information on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton from people whom he was told were representing, and passing on information from, the Russian government.

TLDR: Manafort Reportedly Didn't Bother To Read Russian Meeting Emails

  TLDR: Manafort Reportedly Didn't Bother To Read Russian Meeting Emails Paul Manafort appears to be distancing himself from the meeting he attended at Trump Tower in June 2016 with Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked lawyer.An unnamed “source close to Manafort” claimed to Politico on Tuesday that Manafort did not read the entire email chain Trump Jr. had forwarded him about the meeting, and said the former campaign chairman was unaware of exactly who he would meet.If he had read past a short note from Trump Jr.

Donald Trump Jr .’ s Russian Connection Has Ties to Former Kremlin Spies . The lawyer who offered up Hillary dirt to the Trump campaign totally swears she doesn’t work for the Russian government. Her client list suggests otherwise.

The Russian lawyer whose meeting last year with Donald Trump Jr . has renewed Democratic allegations of collusion is denying she had any Kremlin connection , despite a new report claiming President Trump ’ s eldest son was told in advance of the

Recent developments on Trump Jr.’s communications with those individuals, and additional details that Browder has shared with the committee and will recap next week, threaten to spoil an opportunity for Republicans to sow doubt about allegations of Trump-Russia collusion. The involvement of figures at the center of Browder’s allegations in the emerging Trump Jr. scandal threaten to turn the hearing into an examination of the Trump campaign’s apparent willingness to enlist Russian government agents on its behalf.

The hearing was planned months ago, Browder told The Daily Beast on Monday, and will examine a group called the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative (HRAGI) Foundation, a group that has lobbied Congress to roll back the Magnitsky Act. That law was named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was kidnapped, tortured, and executed in 2009 after working to expose high-level Russian government corruption.

Browder was a friend and client of Magnitsky’s, and has worked for years to pass, and then preserve, the sanctions imposed by the law on individuals and entities suspected of complicity in Magnitsky’s murder. Browder filed a complaint with the Department of Justice this year alleging that HRAGI, its attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, and a number of other Russian individuals and companies were lobbying for Magnitsky’s repeal on the Russian government’s behalf.

Trump Jr. emails, meeting fall under special counsel's mandate

  Trump Jr. emails, meeting fall under special counsel's mandate The emails and meeting are expected to be looked at by investigators as part of the overall collusion investigation . The emails, which Donald Trump Jr. released on Tuesday, confirm he was told the coordination of a meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer was a part of the Russian government's support for his father. They also referred to information that would "incriminate" Hillary Clinton."This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump -- helped along by Aras and Emin," publicist Rob Goldstone wrote in an email dated June 3, 2016.

He has an association with a former deputy head of a Russian spy service, the F. S .B., and a history of working for close allies of President Mr. Akhmetshin’ s meeting with Trump campaign officials is of keen interest to Mr. Mueller, who is investigating the Kremlin ’ s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

One critic says if Donald Trump Jr . knew about Natalia Veselnitskaya' s Kremlin connections before he met her, it "borders on treason." The Kremlin has denied knowing about the meeting, according to multiple reports.

Veselnitskaya told NBC News on Tuesday that she sought a meeting with Trump Jr. solely to discuss issues surrounding Magnitsky sanctions and has “never worked for [the Russian] government.” But that’s not what Browder is alleging. Her client list and circle of anti-Magnitsky advocates, he says, include former Russian government officials—including a former counterintelligence operative and a close colleague of a former state security official—and government-owned companies considered close to President Vladimir Putin’s regime and susceptible to the influence of Russian intelligence agencies.

Vesilnitskaya represents HRAGI, which has reported lobbying Congress on issues pertaining to a ban on the adoption of Russian children by American families. In a very broad sense that is accurate—the ban was imposed by President Vladimir Putin as retaliation for the Magnitsky Act—but Browder says the group’s primary goals are to rescind sanctions and discredit those, like Browder, pressing for their preservation.

Among HRAGI’s lobbyists is Rinat Akhmetshin, who has described himself as a former Russian counterintelligence officer, but said he is no longer in the government’s employ. HRAGI removed Akhmetshin from its roster of lobbyists on May 8, five days before the Justice Department settled a long-running corruption case against a Russian company called Prevezon Holdings. Prevezon’s owner is an HRAGI lobbying client. Veselnitskaya is his lawyer.

The Trumps Embraced a Russian Plot

  The Trumps Embraced a Russian Plot The email exchange with Donald Trump Jr. should have led him to call the F.B.I. and report a foreign effort to interfere in the U.S. election. Instead, he embraced the plot.Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Former spies say Donald Trump Jr .' s meeting with a Russian lawyer and a Russian -American lobbyist last June looks like a textbook intelligence operation. The Russian side featured a potential cover story with a "cutout" — a plausible intermediary. "Almost no one is a direct agent of the Kremlin

Donald Trump Jr .' s 'staggering admissions' about meeting with a Russian lawyer are skirting a huge question. The Times' stories, however, shed light on the first confirmed direct meeting between Donald Trump ' s inner circle and a Russian national with ties to the Kremlin .

HRAGI’s other clients include Vladimir Lelyukh, a top executive at Sberbank Capital, a subsidiary of the state-owned Russian bank involved in the real estate, energy, transportation, and automotive sectors. Sberbank Capital’s CEO, Ashot Khachaturyants, is a former senior official in Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and its Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

State-owned Russian financial institutions are common conduits for surreptitious intelligence work in the country. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has faced scrutiny over a January meeting a top executive at another bank with ties to Russian intelligence, Moscow-based Vnesheconombank.

The initial connection between Veselnitskaya and Trump Jr. came by way of Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star and real estate investor, and his father, Azerbaijani-Russian businessman and Putin ally Alas Agalarov. They had met Trump Jr. when the Miss Universe pageant was hosted in Moscow in 2013. During that visit, the Agalarovs met for dinner with the elder Trump and Herman Gref, Sberbank’s chief executive and one of the pageant's official sponsors.

Gref, Khachaturyants, Sberbank, and Sberbank Capital were all named as defendants in a lawsuit filed in a federal court in new York last year alleging they were complicit in efforts by close Putin associates to fraudulently take control of a Russian granite company.

In March, Sberbank brought on a new attorney to fight those charges—a lawyer who has become a household name this year.

House Democrats press Sessions about Russian lawyer's role

  House Democrats press Sessions about Russian lawyer's role Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday questioned the decision by the Trump administration Justice Department to settle a money-laundering forfeiture case with a Russian real estate investment firm that has ties to the Russian lawyer who met last year with President Donald Trump's son.Natalia Veselnitskaya represented the owner of Russian firm Prevezon Holdings Ltd. The letter sent by House Judiciary ranking member John Conyers and other Democrats asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions whether Veselnitskaya had been involved in settlement negotiations between the Russian firm and the Justice Department.

Now, if I asked Donald Trump Jr . how his was, he'd have to say something like, "Oh, you know. The New York Times reported about how I met with a Kremlin - connected In a statement on Sunday, Donald Trump Jr . said he had met with the Russian lawyer at the request of an acquaintance.

Trump says 'disgraceful' if FBI spied on campaign. Trump lawyers seek to limit Mueller interview. So far acknowledged in attendance: Trump Jr ., Kushner, Manafort, Russian lawyer Natalia The lawyer for Donald Trump Jr . has not responded. The White House has not commented yet either.

The lawyer was Marc Kasowitz. He now represents the President of the United States.

A spokesman for Kasowitz did not respond to questions about how he came to represent Sberbank, but new information presented at next week’s hearing could lead to questions from committee Democrats on those and other unexplored Russia connections.

That could dramatically alter the direction of the Browder hearing. Its initial focus appeared to tee up committee Republicans to cast doubt on allegations of Trump-Russia. Now talk of Trump Jr.’s Kremlin contacts will likely dominate the event.

Of particular interest to Grassley is the involvement of Washington political research firm Fusion GPS. Browder singled out the firm for its alleged involvement in the anti-Magnitsky effort. It was also involved in the creation of a research document last year that claimed the Russian government had collected blackmail material on Trump, and that his team had colluded with Russian government agents to hobble the Clinton campaign.

Most of the Steele dossier—named for its author, a former British intelligence agent—remains unverified. The dossier, and Fusion GPS’s role in it, has been invoked by defenders of the president—including his legal team—to cast doubt on collusion allegations, and prior statements from Grassley indicated he would likely take that tack during the hearing.

Fusion GPS says it had nothing to do Trump Jr.’s meeting, and that its role in the anti-Magnitsky push extended only to a legal sub-contract involving the case brought against Prevezon in 2013. “Fusion GPS learned about this meeting from news reports and had no prior knowledge of it,” the firm said in statement. “Any claim that Fusion GPS arranged or facilitated this meeting in any way is false.”

The firm’s apparently peripheral involvement in the larger scheme to, in Browder’s telling, roll back Magnitsky sanctions nevertheless spurred Grassley to dig further into Fusion GPS’s involvement. But now, with new revelations regarding Trump Jr.’s attempts to solicit opposition research from foreign agents, the thrust of Judiciary’s hearing appears poised to shift considerably.

A spokesperson for the committee did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the hearing.

Browder’s Justice Department complaint, and Fusion GPS’s involvement in it, have been invoked to suggest that the Russian government may not have been so clearly in Trump’s camp last year. For Judiciary Committee Republicans, Trump Jr.’s emails have made that position considerably more difficult.

At the very least, those emails will provide the committee’s Trump critics with plenty of ammunition to turn the Browder hearing’s focus from the Steele dossier directly back onto the administration and its Russian contacts.

Kremlin hopes U.S. finds 'political wisdom' to solve diplomatic row .
The Kremlin said on Monday it hoped the Trump administration would find the political wisdom to solve a diplomatic dispute with Moscow over the seizure of Russian diplomatic property in the United States. Barack Obama, then U.S. president, ordered the seizure of two Russian diplomatic compounds and the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats in December over what he said was their involvement in hacking the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, something Russia flatly denies.Russia has said too many American spies operate in Moscow under diplomatic cover and has said it might expel some of them to retaliate over the incident.

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