Trump Jr. Asked Russian Lawyer About Clinton Foundation

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Donald Trump Jr. asked a Russian lawyer during a 2016 meeting whether she had information about donations to the Clinton Foundation, according to a written statement the lawyer provided to Congress.

Trump Jr. met with Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016 at Trump Tower after being promised dirt on the Clinton campaign, according to NBC News.

Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who was Donald Trump's campaign chairman at the time, joined Trump Jr. The meeting was set up by music producer Rob Goldstone, who described Veselnitskaya as a "Russian government lawyer."

After Trump Jr. asked about Clinton and discovered Veselnitskaya had no information, he quickly lost interest in the meeting.

"...I understand why it took place to begin with and why it ended so quickly with a feeling of mutual disappointment and time wasted," wrote Veselnitskaya. "The answer lies in the roguish letters of Mr. Goldstone."

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Goldstone has since acknowledged he exaggerated the nature of Veselnitskaya's business.

According to the lawyer's submission, she wanted to encourage the Trump campaign to investigate Bill Browder, one of the main advocates of the Magnitsky Act. The legislation, which imposed sanctions on Russia, was named after Browder's accountant, Sergei Magnitsky.

Veselnitskaya wanted to challenge Browder's allegations about Magnitsky's death while in Russian custody. She added that her goal was to bring about a congressional investigation that would result in the overturning of the Magnitsky Act.

"Now that I know the kind of apocalyptic Hollywood scenario that a private conversation between a lawyer and a businessman can be turned into, I very much regret that the desire to bring the truth to the [Congress] has thrown the U.S. president's family, as well as Mrs. Clinton, into the whirlwind of mutual political accusations and fueled the fire of the morbid, completely groundless hatred for Russia," she wrote.

Trump Jr.'s attorney refused to comment on the latest information from NBC News. He instead referred to Trump Jr.'s statement from September 2017, in which he said he wanted to "hear (the Russians) out" if they had information about Clinton's "fitness, character or qualifications."

Some remain unsatisfied with Trump Jr.'s account of the Veselnitskaya meeting and other issues.

On Dec. 5, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, calling on Grassley to issue a subpoena for testimony and documents from Trump Jr.

"Recent revelations have shown beyond question that the American people can only feel certain that Mr. Trump, Jr. has been fully forthcoming if he is subject to a subpoena," wrote Blumenthal, according to the Hill.

In addition to his meeting with Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr. admitted in November that he exchanged private messages via Twitter with a WikiLeaks account during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Sources: NBC News, The Hill / Featured Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr / Embedded Images: Gage Skidmore/FlickrVivian Felten/U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

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