Russian Lawyer Who Met At Trump Tower Charged In Case Showing Kremlin Connection

An exterior image of the entrance to Trump Tower in New York.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

A lawyer who was involved in a meeting between members of then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign team (including his son) has been formally charged by the federal government for unrelated charges.

According to reporting from the New York Times, the Department of Justice has charged Natalia Veselnitskaya with attempting to thwart an investigation involving civil fraud and money laundering that the department was trying to inquire about.

The DOJ had requested the assistance of the Russian government in conducting its investigation involving individuals from that nation. Moscow, in turn, vehemently denied any wrongdoing of the individuals being charged and denied the request to assist.

Veselnitskaya was involved in secretly drafting the response letter from the Russian government, the DOJ alleged in court filings made public on Tuesday. She faces charges of obstruction of justice, according to reports from MarketWatch.

Although unrelated to a meeting she was involved in alongside the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, the charges brought forward do indicate that Veselnitskaya is deeply entrenched in the happenings of Russian officials.

The meeting that took place at Trump Tower in June of 2016 was set up between the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and Rob Goldstone, a British Music publicist who also represented a Russian pop music star, according to CNN.

In an email to Trump Jr., Goldstone said that he wanted to “provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”

Twenty minutes later, Trump Jr. responded in another email by saying, “if it’s what you say I love it.”

After a lot of back-and-forth to set a meeting up, Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr., Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and campaign manager Paul Manafort, along with some others, attended a meeting at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016. Although when it was later discovered that such a meeting had been put together in hopes of getting “dirt” on Clinton, Trump Jr. and his father the president vehemently denied for a long period of time that the meeting had that purpose.

President Trump later said in 2018, more than two years after the meeting had taken place, that it was “totally legal and done all the time in politics.” Legal experts with knowledge on campaign law disputed that claim by the president, however, according to reporting from PolitiFact.

Russia investigation special counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with investigating Russia’s interference in our election in 2016, has reportedly looked into the meeting that took place, according to previous reporting from the New York Times.