President Trump’s legal team was informed more than three weeks ago about the email chain arranging a June 2016 meeting between his son Donald Jr. and a Kremlin-connected lawyer, two sources familiar with the handling of the matter told Yahoo News.
Trump told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that he learned just “a couple of days ago” that Donald Jr. had met with the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, hoping to receive information that “would incriminate Hillary” and was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” A day earlier, on Tuesday, Donald Jr. released the email exchanges himself, after learning they would be published by the New York Times.
Trump repeated that assertion in a talk with reporters on Air Force One on his way to Paris Wednesday night. “I only heard about it two or three days ago,” he said, according to a transcript of his talk, when asked about the meeting with Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in June 2016 attended by Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, then Trump’s campaign chief, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
But the sources told Yahoo News that Marc Kasowitz, the president’s chief lawyer in the Russia investigation, and Alan Garten, executive vice president and chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, were both informed about the emails in the third week of June, after they were discovered by lawyers for Kushner, who is now a senior White House official.
Nope, nobody here has anything to hide, this is all above board, why is everybody making such a big deal out of it?
So far acknowledged in attendance: Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Akhmetshin and publicist Rob Goldstone, who helped set up the meeting. A source familiar with the circumstances told CNN there were at least two other people in the room as well, a translator and a representative of the Russian family who had asked Goldstone to set up the meeting. The source did not provide the names.
As more and more information is squeezed out through aggressive press scrutiny, don’t forget that Trump himself reportedly signed off on the initial statement from Trump Jr. that lied about this meeting. — gs
* Matea Gold, Drew Harwell, Maher Sattar and Simon Denyer investigate Ivanka Trump’s fashion line, and find that it doesn’t quite live up to the values she professes to believe in:
While President Trump has chastised companies for outsourcing jobs overseas, an examination by The Washington Post has revealed the extent to which Ivanka Trump’s company relies exclusively on foreign factories in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and China, where low-wage laborers have limited ability to advocate for themselves.
And while Ivanka Trump published a book this spring declaring that improving the lives of working women is “my life’s mission,” The Post found that her company lags behind many in the apparel industry when it comes to monitoring the treatment of the largely female workforce employed in factories around the world.
Their explanation for the exploited workers is that the company is “newer and smaller” than other brands. Why that means they have to use factories where the decidedly non-“empowered” women are making as little as $68 a month is unclear.
Prominent technology-industry leaders and venture capitalists gathered in the White House’s state dining room last month to discuss tech policy with President Donald Trump in an event that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, helped organize.
Seated at the rectangular table alongside the corporate luminaries, university presidents and senior White House officials was a less-prominent figure: Zachary Bookman, the 37-year-old CEO of a small startup called OpenGov.
Mr. Kushner’s brother, through a venture-capital firm, is a part owner of OpenGov, according to government disclosures and data from Dow Jones VentureSource. Until earlier this year, Mr. Kushner owned stakes in the venture-capital firm that he sold to his brother, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Kushner’s connection to OpenGov isn’t widely known.
Hey, if you can’t use the government’s resources to help out your brother, what good is being in the White House?
* This blog reported yesterday that the DCCC has formally asked the NRCC to join in showing a united front against Russian sabotage. Steve Benen brings us the NRCC’s sneering response, and asks whether Republicans are willing to help stop another attack on our electoral system:
All Republican officials have to do is agree to a bipartisan partnership before the next attack. As of yesterday, however, that appears unlikely.
An NRCC spokesperson told NBC News yesterday, in response to a question about the Democrats’ outreach, “The fact that this letter was delivered by an intern and immediately leaked to the press shows what an unserious political stunt it is.”…
It’s difficult to say with confidence what’s motivating Republicans to take such an approach, but it’s only a matter of time before Democrats start to ask publicly whether GOP leaders – on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue – are actually comfortable with foreign adversaries subverting our democracy.
Given that their current position on collusion with the Russians is “What’s the big deal?” maybe this isn’t surprising.
* Rolf Mowatt-Larssen says that the meeting that was arranged with Donny Jr., Jared, and Manafort looks a lot like the kind of overture Russian intelligence arranges to recruit people with whom they can wield influence.
* Jane Kay reports that the Trump administration just pulled the plug on over $200 million in scientific research to determine the most effective ways to reduce teen pregnancy, because they’re going back to “abstinence only,” which has been proven not to work.