Newly disclosed information shows that President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, Paul J. Manafort, President Trump’s son, Donald J. Trump Jr., and President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with a Russian lawyer who has ties to the Kremlin.
Confidential government records were described to a New York Times reporter by people who were familiar with the documents.
While it has been alleged throughout Mr. Trump’s presidency that there were meetings between Russian nationals and members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle during his 2016 presidential campaign, this is the first confirmed meeting of the parties during the campaign. The New York Times’ sources stated the meeting occurred at Trump Tower in New York City on June 9, 2016.
The New York Times has obtained confirmation from representatives of Mr. Trump’s son and son-in-law. Mr. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., stated the meeting was primarily about an adoption program. His statement did not mention his father’s presidential campaign.
The Russian lawyer with whom Mr. Manafort, Mr. Trump Jr., and Mr. Kushner met was Natalia Veselnitskaya, who is known as a campaigner against the Magnitsky Act. The Magnitsky Act is an American law that is meant to target Russians who are suspected of abusing human rights. The Act allows the United States to seize the American assets and deny visa applications from Russian citizens who are on a list connected to the Magnitsky Act. There are currently 44 Russian citizens on the list.
The act came into being after Sergei L. Magnitsky, a lawyer who had been investigating corruption and fraud among Russian officials, died under mysterious circumstances in a Russian prison. To retaliate for the passage of the Magnitsky Act, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin halted all adoptions of Russian children by Americans.
United States government officials have indicated they were not aware of this meeting until recently when Mr. Kushner filed an updated version of a form that is required to obtain the security clearance necessary for him to continue his work as a senior White House aide. Previous reports by news agencies revealed Mr. Kushner did not disclose any foreign contacts prior to filing the most recent version of the security clearance form.
The Washington Post reported that an attorney for Mr. Kushner indicated the president’s son-in-law had inadvertently submitted the security clearance form before it had been completed, and that this is why there were no contacts with foreign officials listed on the previously submitted version of the form.
Ms. Veselnitskaya advised the New York Times that the meeting lasted approximately 30 minutes and that the attendees did not discuss the presidential campaign.
The confirmation of this meeting comes after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report in which it described what it called a Russian campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election, as reported by the New York Times.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]