Photo Credit: Aaron Klein
Aaron Klein

Amid renewed news media attention focusing on the infamous brief meeting at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016 between individuals tied to Russia, Donald Trump Jr., and other campaign officials, it is instructive to review the largely unreported details surrounding the get-together that point to the increasing likelihood of the confab being set up as a dirty trick against Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Below, in no particular order, are five key details drawn from this journalist’s investigative reporting that raise immediate questions about the possibility of anti-Trump shady business at play in arranging the infamous meeting.

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1) Rob Goldstone, the English publicist and music manager, admitted that when he wrote Donald Trump Jr. to set up the meeting with a Russian attorney at Trump Tower, he used deliberately hyperbolic language to ensure that the meeting took place.

In testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee reviewed in full by Breitbart News, Goldstone further said that he believes the meeting was a “bait and switch” by a Russian lobbyist seeking a meeting on another matter by misleadingly claiming to be bringing the Trump campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton.

2) All participants in the meeting who have spoken publicly say no Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton was discussed.

All meeting participants agree the confab focused largely on the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions Russian officials accused of involvement in the death of a Russian tax accountant, as well as talk about a Russian tax evasion scheme and alleged connections to the Democratic National Committee.

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who led the meeting, told the Wall Street Journal that she approached Russian real estate magnate Aras Agalarov, whom she was representing, to help set up a meeting with the Trump campaign as part of her efforts opposing the Magnitsky Act. She was also looking to spread information about Bill Browder, the primary supporter of the Magnitsky Act, she said.

3) Two Russians at the meeting evidenced a larger relationship with Fusion GPS and the controversial firm’s co-founder Glenn Simpson. The Russia collusion conspiracy theory was sparked by the discredited dossier produced by Fusion GPS, which was paid for its anti-Trump work by Trump’s primary political opponents, namely Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) via the Perkins Coie law firm.

E-mail transcripts and other information disclosed in testimony released by the Senate Judiciary Committee reveal a significant relationship between Russian-born Washington lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, who was present at the Trump Tower meeting, and Fusion GPS. Veselnitskaya also worked closely with Fusion GPS on a legal matter.

4) A key participant at the Trump Tower meeting said he “knows” Hillary Clinton and has a personal relationship with her that dates back to the late-1990s. Besides describing a direct connection to Clinton, Russian-born Washington lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin also testified that he “knew some people who worked on” Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Akhmetshin further revealed that the same day of the Trump Tower meeting he met with a Clinton associate after the confab and possibly also just before.

Akhmetshin related a personal connection to Clinton via attorney Ed Lieberman, whose late wife Evelyn previously served as Clinton’s chief of staff when she was First Lady. Evelyn Lieberman also served as Bill Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, and famously transferred Monica Lewinsky out of the White House to the Defense Department.

In his Senate testimony, Akhmetshin described taking an Acela train to New York the day of the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting, and says that Lieberman “may” have been with him on the train.

Akhmetshin says his dealings with Lieberman in New York that day were “personal” and centered on a scholarship program that he claims Lieberman started.

After the meeting at Trump Tower, Akhmetshin says he went to dinner and a play with Lieberman, and the subject of the meeting that same day did not come up in his conversations with Lieberman at dinner or during the play. Akhmetshin also stated in the testimony that he was not asked to keep the meeting confidential.

In other words, Akhmetshin is claiming that he attended a meeting at the campaign headquarters of Clinton’s presidential challenger with that challenger’s son and other top Trump staffers, and that same night Akhmetshin did not even mention the meeting to his friend Lieberman, a Clinton associate.

5) Akhmetshin admits to being present at the same security conference in Canada where Sen. John McCain was reportedly first informed about the anti-Trump dossier. Akhmetshin says he might have spoken to McCain and the senator’s assistant David J. Kramer at the Halifax International Security Forum in 2016.

It was at the security conference in Canada in November 2016 that McCain says he was approached by Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow and friend of ex-British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier.

Wood briefed McCain and Kramer, a former State Department official and longtime McCain associate who agreed to meet Steele in London for a fuller briefing on the dossier contents.

The Washington Post claimed in February that after meeting with Steele, Kramer went to Washington and received the dossier document directly from Fusion GPS. McCain then passed the dossier to FBI Director James Comey.

In his Senate testimony, Akhmetsin describes attending the Halifax security conference in 2016, but claimed he played no role in the contact where Wood connected with McCain and Kramer to inform them of the dossier’s existence. Ahmetshin also claimed he was not aware of the dossier at the time.

Akhmetshin said he “might” have said “hi” to McCain but could not say for sure. In other words, Akhmetshin is claiming he is not certain whether he spoke to one of the most famous American politicians, something that would seemingly be quite memorable to most people.

The Russian lobbyist also said he “might have spoken with” Kramer but would not give a definitive answer.

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