A Republican representative has dismissed the suggestion that Donald Trump Jr. did anything wrong by meeting a Russian attorney in June 2016, arguing that everybody in Washington is guilty of collusion.
In a July 14 MSNBC interview with Freedom Caucus member and Republican Rep. of Virginia Dave Brat about the meeting, Brat criticized Democrats for politicizing the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
"We need to calm down, follow the law," Brat said, according to The Hill.
Brat also took aim at those who suggested that Trump Jr. and other members of the Trump campaign, including Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, did something exceptional.
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"And this word 'collusion' is all over the place," he said. "I mean everybody colludes in this city!"
The congressman pointed to foreign donations received by the Clinton foundation and stated that the news media gave Hillary Clinton favorable coverage.
"It's all about politics and power," he added.
According to Brat, "The Russians were obviously involved in our election process, [former president] Obama knew that for several months, didn't do anything about it."
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Trump Jr. met with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya on June 9, 2016 after a music industry publicist promised him that the lawyer had harmful information about the Clinton campaign.
Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet military officer and Russian-American lobbyist, also attended the meeting. He told the Associated Press July 14 that Veselnitskaya presented documents to Trump Jr, Kushner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort showing the flow of illegal donations to the Democratic National Committee.
According to Akhmetshin, who has denied media reports that he was trained as a spy, Veselnitskaya told Trump Jr., "This could be a good issue to expose how the DNC is accepting bad money."
Trump Jr. then allegedly asked Veselnitskaya if she could back up her allegations, but she replied that the Trump campaign would have to research the issue. Trump Jr. then lost interest, Akhmetshin added.
Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called on Akhmetshin to appear before the committee and make available "any relevant documents and information."
Schiff alleged that "it is clear the Kremlin got the message that Donald Trump welcomed the help of the Russian government in providing dirt on Hillary Clinton."
Schiff also suggested that Akhmetshin's account undermined a previous version of the meeting put out by Kushner. The Democrat proposed that if Kushner had not been fully candid, then authorities should move to revoke his security clearance.