Meet the publicist behind Trump Jr.’s Russia meeting

Meet the publicist behind Trump Jr.’s Russia meeting

A little-known British entertainment publicist has become an unlikely character in Donald TrumpDonald TrumpScaramucci says he will contact FBI, Justice Dept. over leaked financial disclosure Dem rep to introduce measure requiring White House to disclose pardons Lawmakers push to toughen foreign lobbying rules MORE Jr.'s controversial meeting with a Russian lawyer who promised compromising information on Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonHouse Judiciary Committee votes to request documents on Comey, Clinton GOP senator warns Trump: Panel won't take up attorney general nominee this year Overnight Cybersecurity: Facebook invests in group fighting election hacking | House panel advances DHS cyber revamp bill | Lawmakers mull cyber insurance for small businesses MORE

Rob Goldstone, a former tabloid journalist turned publicist, is the manager for Emin Agalarov, an Azerbaijani-Russian entertainment artist and businessman who has boasted of a close relationship with President Trump.  

It is Goldstone who sent the emails that Trump Jr. tweeted on Tuesday. In those messages, Goldstone offered to help the campaign obtain valuable information on Clinton. 

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“The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents that information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” Goldstone wrote.

“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.” 

Aras Agalarov, Emin’s father, is a business associate of Trump who worked with the New York mogul to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013. 

Goldstone sought to set up the meeting between Emin, Trump Jr. and Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-connected lawyer, at the request of his client.

The British-born Goldstone is a former tabloid journalist who now runs the New York-based Oui 2 Public Relations, a firm that bills itself as a “boutique entertainment company” offering management, public relations, event planning and other services to clients in various industries.

The company boasts a number of recent projects, including the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow. The firm’s website claims that Goldstone’s past clients include the likes of Michael Jackson, B.B. King, Richard Branson and Best Buy.

A review of Goldstone’s social media accounts — which became fodder for news outlets following the bombshell New York Times report about the meeting on Sunday — indicates that he is a supporter of Trump.

“The A Team - headed to the White House!” Goldstone wrote on Facebook on Election Day last year, accompanied by a photo of himself, Emin and now-President Trump. 

His past postings also suggest distaste for Hillary Clinton.

“Only been back in NYC a few hours and must switch off tv! This insane series of military speakers at DNC before Hillary take the stage - is demented... Get me back to Moscow!” Goldstone wrote on Facebook on July 28.

According to an account in the Guardian, Goldstone has visited Russia at least 19 times since the spring of 2013. His Instagram account, which reportedly featured an image of him wearing a “Russia” t-shirt following the election, has since been made private. His Facebook shows him to be a frequent traveler to Europe, with many posts and videos of his travels. 

Goldstone has boasted about arranging for Trump to appear in a music video for Emin’s 2013 song “In Another Life,” which featured 2013 contestants for the Miss Universe pageant. The video has been viewed on YouTube nearly 2 million times.

@AgalarovAras I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW!” Trump tweeted in November 2013.

Connections between the Agalarovs and Trump go back several years. Aras, a wealthy Russian real estate developer who has been awarded the Order of Honor of the Russian Federation, is said to have had plans to build a Trump Tower in Russia that were squashed when Trump decided to run for office.

Emin Agalarov told Forbes in an exclusive interview published in March that Trump had responded to the family’s congratulations on his White House victory with a handwritten letter. He also claimed to have had contacts with Trump Jr. as recently as January.

“Now that he ran and was elected, he does not forget his friends,” Agalarov told the publication.

On Tuesday, Trump Jr. described Emin as “a person I knew from the 2013 Ms. Universe Pageant near Moscow.”

“Emin and his father have a very highly respected company in Moscow,” Trump’s eldest son said in a statement with the release of the email exchange with Goldstone.

Details of the meeting have fueled speculation about possible coordination between Trump's campaign and Moscow, something that is currently under investigation by the Justice Department. Trump has maintained that he has nothing to do with Russia and has at times questioned the intelligence community's conclusions about Moscow's interference campaign. 

The controversial meeting arranged by Goldstone took place on June 9, 2016, at Trump Tower, just after Trump had won enough votes to clinch the Republican nomination. It was also attended by Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager who is now the scrutiny of federal and congressional investigators, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law who is now a senior White House adviser.

In the emails, Goldstone said that he would not attend the meeting but would make the introductions. He advertised his presence at Trump Tower New York on social media the day of the meeting.

Trump Jr. has said that the meeting did not produce damaging information on Clinton but instead was focused on U.S. adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act, a law that paved the way for sanctions on Russians for human rights violations. 

Goldstone gave an interview to the Times published Monday explaining his side of the story, largely mirroring Trump Jr.’s account that the lawyer used the promise of information on Clinton as a pretext to secure the meeting. 

“It was the most inane nonsense I’ve ever heard,” Goldstone is quoted as saying. “And I was actually feeling agitated by it. Had I, you know, actually taken up what is a huge amount of their busy time with this nonsense?” 

By Tuesday, Goldstone was no longer talking. 

When contacted, Goldstone referred all questions to his attorney, Bob Gage, based in New York. Attempts to reach Gage were unsuccessful. 

Legal experts say that Goldstone's acknowledgement in emails of the Russian government's "support" for Trump will lead congressional committees and federal investigators to contact him.  

“He certainly needs a lawyer because he’s going to be subpoenaed,” said Bill Jeffress, a lawyer at international law firm Baker Botts LLP. 

“I think they would get to him sooner rather than later.”