Russian Federation favored Trump in 2016, Senate panel says, breaking with House GOP

Aaron Brown
May 17, 2018

"The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the objective of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton".

"I appreciate the opportunity to have assisted the Judiciary Committee in its inquiry", Trump Jr. said Wednesday in a statement released by a spokesman.

The bulk of records released are transcripts of the committee's interviews with that meeting's participants, including the president's son, Donald Trump Jr.; his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner; and members of the Russian contingent led by Veselnitskaya.

By June 2017, when Trump was president and Mueller was investigating Russian interference in the election, Trump's associates became concerned the year-old meeting would become public. The follow-up never happened.

Trump Jr. deflected multiple questions during the interview, including whether he discussed the Russian Federation probe with his father.

In 2017, Trump Jr. tweeted out an email he'd sent to Goldstone prior to the Trump Tower meeting in which he responded to the possibility of getting Clinton dirt with, "If it's what you say I love it". Mueller has indicated to Trump's attorneys that he wants to ask the President about the meeting, and about his role in the composition of a misleading statement that Trump, Jr., put out last summer, after the meeting's existence was revealed. He also doesn't recall several emails and phone calls leading up to the meeting or even that a Russian-American lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, attended. They are incredulous that Mr. Trump would have taken a meeting with Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner, two top campaign lieutenants, about damaging information on Mrs. Clinton without telling his father.

"The next step on this on to get a document out to try to continue to educate the American people", Warner told reporters assembled outside the meeting room.

Separately Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee said it completed its review of Russian influence on the election and concluded it agreed with the USA intelligence community's assessment that Moscow sought to sway the vote in Trump's favor. That conclusion differs from a House intelligence committee report released last month.

But nothing in the new documents appears to change the course of the Russian Federation investigations ongoing in the Senate Intelligence Committee and the special counsel's office.

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That's according to transcripts of Trump Jr.'s testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee.

Also anticipating damaging information on Clinton was Rob Goldstone, the promoter for a Russian pop star, who had set up the meeting.

If there's a single big takeaway from the almost 2,000 pages of transcripts of interviews with Donald Trump Jr. and others by congressional investigators, it's that Trump Jr. never thought twice about meeting with people tied to Russian Federation promising dirt on his father's political opponent.

The Trump campaign has dismissed the meeting as part of a bait-and-switch Russian lobbying effort to amend a 2012 law known as the Magnitsky Act that placed sanctions on Russians over human rights abuses. But the panel released her written responses to a letter that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent her past year.

Perhaps the biggest one: what President Donald Trump knew about the meeting and when he was told about it.

Much of the information that the witnesses told the committee has been unearthed by the media already, such as the promise of "dirt" from Russian government sources and the President's involvement in the drafting of his son's misleading statement. But the story began to shift in subsequent days, and Trump Jr. eventually released emails between him and Rob Goldstone, the British music publicist who helped coordinate the meeting with Veselnitskaya.

Q: "And what about the thing that says, 'It is part of Russian Federation and its government's support for Mr. Trump.' Did you also love that?" And I said, neither do you and neither does your father.

"In the call at the end, [I said] that I believed it was a bad idea and that we shouldn't do it", Goldstone said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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