Trump Jr. lawyer tried to coordinate stories on Trump Tower meeting with organizer

Trump Jr. lawyer tried to coordinate stories on Trump Tower meeting with organizer

Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpGeorge Will charges that Trump colluded with Putin DNC claims Secret Service blocked attempt to deliver lawsuit against Kushner Secret Service spent nearly 0,000 on protection for Trump's sons during overseas trips MORE's attorney appears to have tried to coordinate accounts with another participant who also attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE's eldest son, encouraging music promoter Rob Goldstone to release a statement he drafted defending his client's account.

Goldstone said Trump Jr.’s attorneys, Alan Futerfas and Alan Garten, interviewed him about his memory of the Trump Tower meeting.

“They called and asked me if I could help them understand my recollection of the meeting, which I did,” Goldstone told Senate investigators, according to a transcript of his December interview. 

Futerfas also sent Goldstone a proposed statement, which encouraged him to run with the remarks if he felt "comfortable," according to exhibits posted by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. 

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Goldstone then shared the statement with Ike Kaveladze, a U.S.-based employee of Emin and Aras Agalarov, who also attended the meeting. Emin Agalarov, Goldstone's client, worked with Trump to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013.

"Here is statement drafted by Trump lawyers which they have asked me to release," Goldstone wrote in an email on July 10 to Kaveladze, just two days after The New York Times first reported the meeting. 

Futerfas suggested that if Goldstone was comfortable with their plan to release the statement and then not say anything more on the matter publicly, that would be his "preference."  

"Please consider the following as a statement. Please note that there will always be potential follow-up questions to any statement but if you feel comfortable with this statement and are comfortable saying nothing more, at least for the time being, that would be our preference. Again, any statement should be accurate as to your very best recollection," Futerfas wrote in an email to Goldstone.

Goldstone, who had asked Emin Agalarov to review the statement in an email, was told to coordinate with Kaveladze about any draft statements, according to the transcripts.

The statement largely defended Trump Jr.'s initial account of the meeting where he — as well as Trump's son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerGeorge Will charges that Trump colluded with Putin DNC claims Secret Service blocked attempt to deliver lawsuit against Kushner On The Money: US files complaints at WTO | House leaders get deal to boost biz investment | Mnuchin says US will consider Iran sanctions waivers | FCC deals blow to Sinclair-Tribune merger MORE and former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump eyes second Putin summit George Will charges that Trump colluded with Putin Mueller releases list of more than 500 pieces of evidence against Manafort MORE — met with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to press the case for repealing a U.S. sanctions law that had led the Kremlin to ban Americans from adopting children from Russia.

Goldstone told Senate investigators during his December interview that he did not release Futerfas’s statement, calling it “ludicrous.”

“It just sounded like an across-the-board endorsement of Mr. Trump Jr., as opposed to stating facts,” he said, while telling Senate investigators that he did “not necessarily” believe there were inaccuracies about the statement.

Futerfas described his interviews with the other meeting participants as standard practice. 

"The first order of business in any new inquiry is to conduct a thorough investigation in order to determine the facts. That is exactly what occurred here," Futerfas said in an emailed statement.

"The June 9th meeting was forgotten about as soon as it concluded and the attorneys had an obligation to ascertain exactly what occurred by interviewing those who were in attendance. Each interviewee was advised that we only wanted to hear the truth and their interviews were witnessed by multiple attorneys from my office," he said.

He emphasized, as proven in the documents released, that Goldstone had been advised that “we only wanted his honest, best recollection of what occurred."

"The Senate Judiciary Democrats’ press release briefly references a proposed statement that was sent to Mr. Goldstone. At the time, Mr. Goldstone was speaking to the press with some abandon and we were drafting a responsible narrative that was consistent with the interviews we had conducted, including Mr. Goldstone’s," Futerfas

When Senate investigators asked why Goldstone asked to see Trump Jr.’s statement before he’d drafted his own, the publicist said he thought it would be useful if he knew “what they had put out, the style, the type.”

Trump Jr. has said the meeting was a waste of time. He agreed to the meeting under the belief that he was receiving political dirt on his father's opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProminent Putin critic: If Trump turns me over, I'm dead Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia Trump tweets old video of Clinton talking up 'a strong Russia' MORE. Goldstone initiated the meeting between Emin Agalarov, Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya, who has connections to the Kremlin.

"As the person who arranged the meeting, I can definitively state that the statements I have read by Donald Trump Jr. are 100 percent accurate," the statement for Goldstone reads.

"The meeting was a complete waste of time and Don was never told Ms. Veselnitskaya's name prior to the meeting. Ms. Veselnitskaya mostly talked about the Magnitsky Act and Russian adoption laws and the meeting lasted 20 to 30 minutes at most. There was never any follow up and nothing ever came of the meeting."

At one point after the press got wind of the meeting, Goldstone also sent a text to Emin Agalarov, saying that he had “just got off phone with Trump lawyers and they would like us to have a blanket ‘no comment’ for now." He told investigators that since he didn't have "any attorneys or anywhere to turn" at the time, he called Trump Jr.'s lawyers since they were read in on the situation.

Other exhibits released by the Senate committee on Wednesday also reveal a back-and-forth coordination with Trump's attorneys and other Trump officials.

Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciMegyn Kelly grills Sean Spicer over whether he stands by past White House claims Trump: Media only says I was 'rude' to NATO leaders, ignores 'the money' Trump criticizes media amid growing criticism of his handling of Putin MORE, then incoming-White House communications director, also emailed Goldstone on July 23 about the need to remain consistent on messaging.

"I don't officially start," Scaramucci began in the subject line, "until the 15th, Rob."

"But I just wanted to drop you a line to say if you ever need to pick my brains then my door is always open. Obviously there is still pressure on all sides, but if we remain consistent and united I don't envisage any issues we can't ride out," he continued. 

 

Updated at 5:37 p.m.