Senate panel talks to Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Russian lawyer who discussed sanctions with Donald Trump Jr. at a Trump Tower meeting during the 2016 campaign recently met U.S. Senate investigators in Berlin, a person familiar with the interview told The Associated Press.
Senate intelligence committee investigators looking into Russian interference in the campaign interviewed Natalia Veselnitskaya at a Berlin hotel, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details of the interview are confidential.
The interview lasted about three hours and was focused on information contained in a collection of memos compiled by a former British spy, whose worked was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton. The dossier contains numerous allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump, his associates and the Trump campaign.
The person familiar with the conversation, who spoke to Veselnitskaya, said the dossier was discussed more than her involvement in the Trump Tower meeting.
A spokeswoman for Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., didn’t return a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the panel, declined to comment.
Trump Jr., along with the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with Veselnitskaya in June 2016 after Trump Jr. was told in emails that she could provide potentially incriminating information about Clinton. The Senate investigators have expressed interest in determining whether the meeting was part of a Russian government effort to help Donald Trump’s White House campaign, which was how it was described in emails to Trump Jr. in the days before it occurred.
Veselnitskaya has denied having any ties to the Russian government. She is a well-connected Moscow lawyer who has worked with a company called Prevezon Holdings Ltd. and its owner, who is the son of a former Russian government official and a fierce advocate for rolling back U.S. sanctions.
At the time of the meeting in Trump Tower, Veselnitskaya was helping defend Prevezon against charges it had engaged in money laundering from a $230 million Russian tax fraud scheme.
Trump Jr. and others in attendance have downplayed the meeting, saying nothing came of it. Trump has denied that he or his campaign coordinated with any Russian attempts to interfere in the election.
The Senate intelligence committee is one of several congressional committees looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether there were any Russian ties to Trump’s campaign. The GOP-led House intelligence committee has already concluded its investigation, saying there was no collusion or coordination with Russians.