Media outlets have confirmed that the meeting between officials of Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign and a Russian lawyer, also included a person with connections to Russian intelligence and another as yet unidentified participant.
CGTN’s John Metherell reports.
The Associated Press has confirmed that a former soviet counterintelligence officer who lobbies for Russian causes was in the room when Donald Trump Jr met Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Rinat Akhmetshin was at the meeting in Trump Tower that also included campaign manager Paul Manafort and Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Akhmetshin is a dual U.S.-Russian citizen. He denies any current ties to Russian spy agencies.
President Donald Trump dismissed the meeting during a press conference in Paris on Thursday.
“Zero happened from the meeting. And honestly, I think the press made a very big deal over something that really a lot of people would do,” the president said.
Kushner, now a presidential adviser, initially failed to disclose during security clearance screening that he, too, was in that meeting.
Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, called for repercussions for Kushner’s lapses.
“In any other White House, somebody that had this breach of trust with this American public, likely wouldn’t have a job any longer,” Murphy said.
But Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, denies any collusion.
“Never, ever, ever, ever, ever was Russia mentioned and never was there any coordination or cooperation or collaboration,” Lewandowski said.
The meeting in Trump Tower last summer may have been set up to deliver negative information about rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Critics argue the problem is Donald Trump Jr. was open to what emails promised would be information from a foreign government, designed to influence the election.
“It is totally bogus to suggest that somehow it was okay because they didn’t actually obtain any useful information in it,” Josh Earnest, former White House Secretary in the Obama administration, said.
Congressional committees say they will seek testimony from those involved in the meeting.
Emily Stewart on meeting between Trump campaign and Russian officials
Emily Stewart, Politics reporter for The Street, talks about the effect of new details of the meeting between senior Trump campaign officials and Russians in 2016.