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 TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpAnother New York condo votes to remove 'Trump' from name Trump's son attacks LGBT magazine op-ed that calls effort to decriminalize homosexuality 'racist' Gillibrand uses Trump Jr. tweet to fundraise 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 ClintonDem strategist says Clinton ‘absolutely’ has a role to play in 2020 Left-leaning journalist: Sanders would be 'formidable candidate' against Trump Clinton hits EPA for approval of pesticide dump: ‘We need bees!’ 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 GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - What to watch for as Mueller’s probe winds down Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes Drug pricing fight centers on insulin MORE (R-Iowa) and ranking Democrat Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinKids confront Feinstein over Green New Deal Feinstein says she thinks Biden will run after meeting with him Trump judicial nominee Neomi Rao seeks to clarify past remarks on date rape 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 ManafortMueller won't deliver report to Justice Dept. next week New York preps state charges for Manafort in case of a Trump pardon: report Defending the First Amendment, even for Roger Stone MORE. Veselnitskaya provided written answers to committee Qs. Manafort provided his notes from the June meeting. Kushner gave a prepared statement.