House investigators see the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting as a key event
What was discussed at the meeting continue to be debated by those who attended
The House intelligence committee plans to interview next week the Russian-American lobbyist who was at the Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. last year, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.
The lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, will be the latest participant at the controversial meeting to be questioned by House investigators. The panel last week interviewed Ike Kaveladze, a Russian who attended the meeting on behalf of Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, the oligarch who initiated the session.
The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been one of the key events for the congressional Russia investigators.
The meeting was set up by music publicist Rob Goldstone, who said in emails leading up to the meeting that Veselnitskaya had potentially damaging information on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that came from the Russian government.
A lawyer for Akhmetshin did not respond to a request for comment.
Since the meeting was disclosed earlier this year, Trump Jr. has said that no damaging information on Clinton was offered at the meeting, and that Veselnitskaya was focused on repealing the Magnitsky Act, which was a law that sanctioned Russians for human rights abuses.
Still, the circumstances surrounding the meeting and what was discussed inside continue to be debated — Veselnitskaya gave an interview earlier this week to Bloomberg in which she said Trump Jr. had hinted about a review of the law.
Veselnitskaya also said she would testify before the Senate judiciary committee if it allowed her testimony to be made public.
She and the others in the meeting have been of interest to all three congressional committees probing Russian election meddling.
Kushner spoke to both the House and Senate intelligence committees earlier this year, and Trump Jr. was interviewed by the Senate judiciary committee.
The Senate intelligence committee has also spoken to “several” of the Russians who were at the Trump Tower meeting.
Akhmetshin was added to the meeting on the morning it occurred at Veselnitskaya’s request, CNN reported last month, because of his expertise on the Magnitsky Act.
In an email exchange the morning of the meeting, Veselnitskaya asked Goldstone if Akhmetshin could be brought along, explaining that he was “working to advance these issues with several congressmen.”