In June of 2016, Donald Trump Jr. attended a meeting in New York City's Trump Tower with a group of Russians offering damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton, Russians who have since been linked directly to the Kremlin. Now it appears that Russia investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller is about to learn a lot more about that meeting and what it may mean for his collusion case when he talks to Rob Goldstone, the shadowy "publicist" who first emailed Trump Jr. to set up the meeting.
Goldstone, according to an NBC News report published online Friday, is ready to talk to Mueller — and may have a lot more to say about the Trump family's connections to Russia, and specifically about Trump's connections to billionaire Russian real estate developer Aras Agalarov, who is held in such high esteem by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Putin has awarded Agalarov the "Order of Honor of the Russian Federation," one of the highest civilian honors awarded by the Russian government.
It was Goldstone who emailed Trump Jr. on June 3 of last year, offering "information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father." This supposed damaging information on Clinton came straight from the highest places in the Kremlin, Goldstone told the younger Trump — adding that the information was "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."
Goldstone was a publicist for Agalarov's son Emin, who is both an aspiring Russian pop star and vice-president of his father's real estate development firm. Goldstone was involved with bringing the 2013 Miss Universe beauty pageant to Moscow, a joint project of Trump and the Agalarovs. Photographs and video taken in Las Vegas in June of 2013, four months before the pageant in Moscow, show Goldstone attending meetings with Trump and the Agalarovs.
Goldstone, the Agalarovs, and Trump were all seen again at a party following the Miss Universe pageant in November of that year. While they collaborated on the Miss Universe pageant, Trump and the Agalarovs also finalized a deal for a major real estate development to be known as "Trump Tower Moscow."
Despite Trump's repeated denials during the 2016 presidential campaign that he had any business dealings in Russia, the Trump Tower Moscow project remained active as late as February of 2017, about a month after Trump's inauguration, and may still be an active deal today, according to an interview given by Emin Agalarov to Forbes magazine.
In his June 3, 2016, email to Trump Jr. setting up the Russia meeting — which would take place six days later — Goldstone revealed that Aras Agalarov had met with Russia's top prosecutor that same morning, and had obtained the "incriminating" information on Clinton directly from that high Russian official.
According to the NBC News report, Goldstone now lives in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been in communication with Mueller's investigators and plans to fly to the United States where he will meet with the Mueller team. But a lawyer for Goldstone told the network only that "nothing is presently scheduled" between the investigators and the publicist.
The June 9 meeting in Trump Tower was also attended by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Trump's then-campaign manager Paul Manafort. While Manafort was indicted by Mueller on a variety of financial charges on October 30, Kushner may also be facing significant legal problems.
Kushner was on the receiving end of emails detailing outreach to the Trump campaign by WikiLeaks, the document-dumping site that published stolen emails pilfered from Democratic Party and Clinton campaign computers by Russian hackers. In fact, Kushner forwarded that email correspondence revealing the WikiLeaks contact to Hope Hicks, one of Trump's closest aides, who likely informed Trump about the outreach from WikiLeaks.
But according to a second NBC News report on Friday, Kushner "specifically denied, under oath, that he was familiar with any attempts by WikiLeaks to contact the campaign."
In addition to Kushner and Manafort, Trump Jr. — the third Trump campaign attendee at the June 9, 2016, meeting with the Russians — could also face legal exposure depending on what Goldstone reveals to Mueller.
[Featured Image by Saul Loeb/Getty Images]