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Info At Trump Tower Meeting Passed To Russian Official

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The information provided to Donald Trump Jr. and other members of his father's presidential campaign team at a Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 was reportedly previously shared with a senior Russian government official.

The New York Times, citing sources and copies of the documents provided by Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, stated that she shared similar allegations with Russia's prosecutor general, Yuri Chaika, in April 2016.

Veselnitskaya has previously declared that she acted alone in providing what she described as damaging information about the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign. The Times suggested that her contact with Chaika points to the involvement of the Russian government, although direct evidence for this does not yet exist.

Stephen Blank, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, remarked that the latest revelation shows that Veselnitskaya's actions "were coordinated from the very top."

The Russian attorney refused to grant an interview to the Times, noting in an email that the newspaper had published "lies and false claims."

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The June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower took place after Trump Jr. was informed by a representative of a Russian oligarch that Veselnitskaya had information that could discredit the Clinton campaign.

While Trump Jr. accepted the meeting, he later stated that Veselnitskaya's information had little to do with the Clinton campaign.

"Some [Democratic National Committee] donors may have done something in Russia and they didn't pay taxes," Trump Jr. said in a July 2017 interview with Fox pundit Sean Hannity. "I was like: 'What does this have to do with anything?'"

In an Oct. 21 interview with Russian state television, Veselnitskaya said she had acted as a whistleblower: "Of course they don't like it when somebody says, even in a friendly tone: 'Guys, what is happening with you at home? Who is in charge of your politics? Who is paying these politicians, and for what?'"

The new allegations about Russian government involvement come as Trump moved on Oct. 27 to implement new sanctions against Moscow. Although the names of the companies and individuals affected have not been released, more than two dozen Russian defense industry companies are reportedly on the list.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters that the sanctions were a sign of "hostility" from the U.S. according to the Los Angeles Times.

He added that while Russia was willing to improve relations, Washington appeared to be "not so steady."

"However, we will be patient and continue to be committed to a constructive approach," said Peskov.

Sources: The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Fox News / Featured Image: Max Goldberg/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Elizabeth Fraser/Arlington National Cemetery via Wikimedia Commons, Commons

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