Senate Judiciary releases transcripts from Trump Tower meeting interviews

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning released the transcripts from a slate of interviews with participants of the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016. 

Among the transcripts is the panel's interview of President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.Don John TrumpTwitter limits Donald Trump Jr.'s account after sharing coronavirus disinformation South Dakota governor flew with Trump on Air Force One after being exposed to coronavirus: report Gianforte halts in-person campaigning after wife, running mate attend event with Guilfoyle MORE, who accepted the meeting with a woman described as a Russian government lawyer offering political dirt on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump vows challenge to Nevada bill expanding mail-in voting Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Juan Williams: The Trump Show grows tired MORE

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The meeting has become a flashpoint in the roiling speculation surrounding Trump and Moscow.

The White House and Trump Jr. staunchly defended the June 2016 meeting as appropriate but offered evolving explanations of its purpose. Trump Jr. later said the meeting revolved around a lobbying push by the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to urge the repeal of a U.S. sanctions law that had led Russia to ban Americans from adopting from the country. 

"I appreciate the opportunity to have assisted the Judiciary committee in its inquiry," Trump Jr. said in a statement released Wednesday that thanked panel Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  Republicans dismiss Trump proposal to delay election Timeline for GOP's Obama probe report slips as chairman eyes subpoenas MORE (R-Iowa) and ranking Democrat Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDemocrats want Biden to debate Trump despite risks Mini-exodus of Trump officials from Commerce to lobby on semiconductors Doug Collins questions Loeffler's trustworthiness in first TV ad MORE (Calif.).

"The public can now see that for over five hours I answered every question asked and was candid and forthright with the committee. I once again thank Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein, as well as other members of the committee and their staff for their courtesy and professionalism."

The committee also interviewed Rob Goldstone, a music producer who set up the meeting; a translator for Veselnitskaya; and a Russian-American lobbyist who was lobbying on behalf of Veselnitskaya’s organization to overturn the Magnitsky sanctions. Ike Kaveladze, a U.S.-based employee of a Russian businessman whose son Goldstone represents, was also interviewed.

Read the transcripts here. 

Here’s a quick recap of who these players are and why they were there:

Donald Trump Jr.: Agreed to meet with a woman characterized as a Russian government lawyer offering political dirt on Clinton. “If it’s what you say, I love it!”

Rob Goldstone: A music promoter who represented the son of the developer who hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in 2013, Aras Agalarov. (Emin Agalarov, the son, is a Russian pop singer.) Goldstone set up the meeting with the Russian lawyer.

Anatoli Samochornov: A former State employee who acted as translator for the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Participants have said the meeting quickly turned into Veselnitskaya lobbying for the repeal of a U.S. sanctions law called the Magnitsky Act.

Rinat Akhmetshin: A Russian-American lobbyist and reportedly a former Soviet military counterintelligence officer who was lobbying on behalf of Veselnitskaya’s organization to overturn the Magnitsky sanctions.

Ike Kaveladze: A U.S.-based employee of Aras and Emin Agalarov. He attended the meeting as their representative. Kaveladze’s lawyer has said Kaveladze believed he would act as a translator but discovered when he arrived that Veselnitskaya had brought Samochornov.

Known to be present but not interviewed by the committee: White House senior advisor Jared Kusher and then-Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTrump says he would consider pardons for those implicated in Mueller investigation Graham releases newly declassified documents on Russia probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - Mask mandates, restrictions issued as COVID-19 spreads MORE. Veselnitskaya provided written answers to committee Qs. Manafort provided his notes from the June meeting. Kushner gave a prepared statement.