Senate panel backs intelligence agencies on Russian meddling

Documents show Trump lawyers scramble behind June 2016 meeting fallout

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The US Senate Judiciary Committee said it had "no doubt" that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 presidential elections on Wednesday.

Even Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee who staunchly rejected that portrayal criticized the decision to take the meeting as poor judgment.

According to NPR, the three biggest takeaways of the released transcripts include the following: 1) The Russians meant to collude with Americans to influence the election, but there is no proof that the Americans reciprocated 2) It is unclear what happened post-Trump Tower meeting and 3) It is unclear what Donald Trump knew beforehand.

Lawmakers asked Trump Jr. about the first call between Agalarov and Trump Jr., which took place at 4:04 p.m. ET on June 6, 2016.

The Trump Tower meeting was arranged by a music promoter, Rob Goldstone, who reached out to Trump Jr saying he had "official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russian Federation and would be very useful to your father". They worked out who should sit where, and I sat next to Mr. Kushner.

Besides Trump Jr., the committee interviewed several other people who attended the meeting_Goldstone; Rinat Akhmetshin, a prominent Russian-American lobbyist; Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer, and a translator. They show that Trump Jr. says he doesn't remember ever discussing the Russian Federation investigation at all with his father.

They point to two specific individuals, including Alexander Torshin, deputy head of Russia's Central Bank, as being involved in the use of the NRA as a back channel between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Wednesday's announcement comes amid growing Republican scrutiny of the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose team also is examining whether Trump's campaign coordinated with the Kremlin and if the president obstructed justice in a bid to limit the probe's scope.

On June 14, just days after the meeting, Goldstone wrote to Emin Agalarov and Ike Kaveladze, a California businessman who was born in Russian Federation.

In 2017, Trump Jr. tweeted out an email he'd sent to Goldstone prior to the Trump Tower meeting in which he responded to the possibility of getting Clinton dirt with, "If it's what you say I love it".

Trump Jr. deflected multiple questions during the interview, saying he couldn't recall. The meeting was being arranged at the direct request of Donald Trump, he testified. In short, I wish I had not spent five hours of my day going through them, but alas, here we are.

Emails and texts showed coordination - and a hint of panic - as Goldstone, Emin Agalarov, and Trump Organization lawyers sought to contain the fallout after the meeting was revealed by emails released by Trump Jr. and the New York Times published an account on July 8, 2017.

Once the meeting was reported publicly last summer, Trump reportedly helped formulate one of his eldest son's responses.

Donald Trump Jr. says he received direct messages via Twitter from WikiLeaks asking if he would leak his father's tax return.

Trump Jr. also reiterated, under oath, that the meeting was a waste of time: "All else being equal, I wouldn't have wanted to waste 20 minutes hearing about something that I wasn't supposed to be meeting about". Chuck Grassley's Senate Judiciary Committee. Veselnitskaya declined to be interviewed, but provided written answers to questions.

Trump Jr.'s wife, Vanessa, has since filed for divorce.

The Trump campaign has dismissed the meeting as part of a bait-and-switch Russian lobbying effort to amend a 2012 law known as the Magnitsky Act that placed sanctions on Russians over human rights abuses. Admits that his far may have participated in drafting of a White House statement that meeting had been proposed as part of Russian effort to help omitted election campaign.

Though the early contacts described a meeting with a "Russian government attorney" and an "ultra sensitive" matter, Goldstone after the fact suggested the meeting was "in no way connected with the Russian Government or any of its officials".

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