Jonathan Lemire of the AP published a report on June 9, 2016 which included information that a Manhattan meeting at Trump Tower had kicked off the Trump Victory Fund, the joint cash-raising operation with the RNC that was planned to gather money both for his candidacy and for House and Senate GOP candidates. This means that while his son Donald Jr. was holding a meeting at Trump Towers with the Russian lawyer / Kremlin operative, President Trump was nearby. Both events occurred on a Thursday, June 9, 2016 and a few days after he had cinched the republican nomination.
Based on the AP report, it appears that Paul Manafort was heavily involved with setting up the fund raising meeting. But he was also present at he 6/9/16 meeting that was attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared kushner and that Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Updated Major News Item on June 9, 2016 events
And the Saturday (7/8/17) NY Times breaking report has been updated on Sunday (7/9/17) to include a new motive/ version to explain why Trump family men and the Russian lawyer gathered at Trump Towers on June 9, 2016. Now Donald Trump Jr. is stating that he had been offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton before having committed to meet with with the Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer. And no, I do not believe one word.
This is the rest of the updated story…
On July 9, 2017, Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman of the New York Times penned the following report, “Trump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on Clinton.”
“President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.”
The meeting was also attended by his campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner only recently disclosed the meeting, though not its content, in confidential government documents described to The New York Times.”
“The Times reported the existence of the meeting on Saturday (7/8/17). But in subsequent interviews, the advisers and others revealed the motivation behind it.”
“The meeting — at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, two weeks after Donald J. Trump clinched the Republican nomination — points to the central question in federal investigations of the Kremlin’s meddling in the presidential election: whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. The accounts of the meeting represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help.”
“And while President Trump has been dogged by revelations of undisclosed meetings between his associates and the Russians, the episode at Trump Tower is the first such confirmed private meeting involving members of his inner circle during the campaign — as well as the first one known to have included his eldest son. It came at an inflection point in the campaign, when Donald Trump Jr., who served as an adviser and a surrogate, was ascendant and Mr. Manafort was consolidating power.”
“It is unclear whether the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, actually produced the promised compromising information about Mrs. Clinton. But the people interviewed by The Times about the meeting said the expectation was that she would do so.”
“In a statement on Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. said he had met with the Russian lawyer at the request of an acquaintance. “After pleasantries were exchanged,” he said, “the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”
“He said she then turned the conversation to adoption of Russian children and the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers. The law so enraged President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that he retaliated by halting American adoptions of Russian children.”
“It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting,” Mr. Trump said.”
“When he was first asked about the meeting on Saturday, he said only that it was primarily about adoptions and mentioned nothing about Mrs. Clinton.”
“Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the president’s lawyer, said on Sunday that “the president was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.”
“In his statement, Donald Trump Jr. said he asked Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner to attend, but did not tell them what the meeting was about.”
“American intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian hackers and propagandists worked to tip the election toward Donald J. Trump, in part by stealing and then providing to WikiLeaks internal Democratic Party and Clinton campaign emails that were embarrassing to Mrs. Clinton. WikiLeaks began releasing the material on July 22.”
“On Sunday morning on Fox News, the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, described the Trump Tower meeting as a “big nothing burger.”
“Talking about issues of foreign policy, issues related to our place in the world, issues important to the American people is not unusual,” he said.
But Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, one of the panels investigating Russian election interference, said he wanted to question “everyone that was at that meeting.”
“There’s no reason for this Russian government advocate to be meeting with Paul Manafort or with Mr. Kushner or the president’s son if it wasn’t about the campaign and Russia policy,” Mr. Schiff said after the initial Times report.
Ms. Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer invited to the Trump Tower meeting, is best known for mounting a multipronged attack against the Magnitsky Act.
The adoption impasse is a frequently used talking point for opponents of the Magnitsky Act. Ms. Veselnitskaya’s campaign against the law has also included attempts to discredit the man after whom it was named, Sergei L. Magnitsky, a lawyer and auditor who died in mysterious circumstances in a Russian prison in 2009 after exposing one of the biggest corruption scandals during Mr. Putin’s rule.
“Ms. Veselnitskaya’s clients include state-owned businesses and a senior government official’s son, whose company was under investigation in the United States at the time of the meeting. Her activities and associations had previously drawn the attention of the F.B.I., according to a former senior law enforcement official.”
“The fact of the Trump Tower meeting was disclosed to government officials in recent days, when Mr. Kushner, who is also a senior White House aide, filed a revised version of a form required to obtain a security clearance.”
“The Times reported in April that he had failed to disclose any foreign contacts, including meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States and the head of a Russian state bank. Failure to report such contacts can result in a loss of access to classified information and even, if information is knowingly falsified or concealed, in imprisonment.”
“Mr. Kushner’s advisers said at the time that the omissions were an error, and that he had immediately notified the F.B.I. that he would be revising the filing.”
“In a statement on Saturday, Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said: “He has since submitted this information, including that during the campaign and transition, he had over 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries, most of which were during transition. Mr. Kushner has submitted additional updates and included, out of an abundance of caution, this meeting with a Russian person, which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law Donald Trump Jr.”
“Mr. Manafort, the former campaign chairman, also recently disclosed the meeting, and Donald Trump Jr.’s role in organizing it, to congressional investigators who had questions about his foreign contacts, according to people familiar with the events.”
“Since the president took office, Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric have assumed day-to-day control of their father’s real estate empire. Because he does not serve in the administration, Donald Trump Jr. was not required to disclose his foreign contacts.”
2012 Magnitsky Act
“Under the law, some 44 Russians have been put on a list that allows the United States to seize their American assets and deny them visas. The United States asserts that many of them are connected to the fraud exposed by Mr. Magnitsky, who after being jailed for more than a year was found dead in his cell. A Russian human rights panel found that he had been assaulted. To critics of Mr. Putin, Mr. Magnitsky, in death, became a symbol of corruption and brutality in the Russian state.”
An infuriated Mr. Putin has called the law an “outrageous act,” and, in addition to banning American adoptions, he compiled an “anti-Magnitsky” blacklist of United States citizens.
UPDATE: As per a 7/10/17 Reuters report by Karen Freifeld, “Donald Trump Jr. has hired a lawyer to represent him in Russia-related investigations, as Republicans voiced concern about a meeting between the U.S. president’s son and a Russian. (He) hired New York lawyer Alan Futerfas, who specializes in criminal defense.