Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort met Kremlin-linked lawyer last year: report

President Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin at Trump Tower two weeks after his father clinched the Republican presidential nomination, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was reportedly also attended by Trump’s then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who now serves as a senior White House adviser.

Representatives for Kushner and Trump Jr. confirmed the meeting with Veselnitskaya. The Russian lawyer is known for working against the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists Russians suspected of violating human rights.

President Vladimir Putin is also a critic of the law, so much so that he responded by prohibiting American adoptions of Russian children.

{mosads}Trump Jr. said that the meeting focused primarily on an adoption program involving Russia.

“It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up,” Trump Jr. said in a statement to the Times.

“I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.”

Kushner’s lawyer Jamie Gorelick confirmed to The Hill in a statement that Kushner briefly attended the meeting at the request of Trump Jr.

“As we have previously stated, Mr. Kushner’s SF-86 was prematurely submitted and, among other errors, did not list any contacts with foreign government officials. The next day, Mr. Kushner submitted supplemental information stating that he had had ‘numerous contacts with foreign officials’ about which he would be happy to provide additional information,” Gorelick said.

“He has since submitted this information, including that during the campaign and transition, he had over 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries, most of which were during transition.  Mr. Kushner has submitted additional updates and included, out of an abundance of caution, this meeting with a Russian person, which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr. As Mr. Kushner has consistently stated, he is eager to cooperate and share what he knows,” Gorelick added.

However, Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump’s outside counsel, issued a statement late Saturday implying that the meeting was a setup. He said the Russian lawyer and her translator “misrepresented who they were.”

Corallo told the Times that as part of her anti-Magnitsky campaign, Veselnitskaya employs a private investigator whose firm, Fusion GPS, produced the intelligence dossier that included unverified allegations about Trump.

The previously undisclosed meeting with the Kremlin-linked lawyer comes as the Trump administration continues to grapple with a federal probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during last year’s election.

Trump and Putin held their first official meeting at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on Friday.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump pressed his Russian counterpart on the Russians’ role in U.S. election meddling, which has been confirmed by the U.S intelligence community. However Putin has continued to deny the allegations.

Updated: 10:38 p.m.

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