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Lawyer at Trump Tower meetings linked to Russian government

29 April 2018

Veselnitskaya said in an interview with NBC previous year that she received a phone call and was asked whether she had information on the Clinton campaign's finances: "I never knew who else would be attending the meeting, all I knew was that Donald Trump Jr. wanted to meet with me". During an interview to be broadcast Friday by NBC News, she acknowledged that she was not merely a private lawyer but a source of information for a top Kremlin official, Yuri Y. Chaika, the prosecutor general.

Newly unearthed emails show she worked closely with the Kremlin's chief legal office to derail a Justice Department civil fraud case against a well-connected Russian firm.

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was a Russian government informant when she met with Trump campaign officials at Trump Tower in 2016, she admitted in an interview with NBC News slated to air Friday.

Veselnitskaya told the Senate Judiciary Committee in November that she worked exclusively as a private lawyer and said her ties to the Russian government and Chaika were only in a professional capacity.

The emails the Dossier organization have suggest Veselnitskaya worked closely with a top official in Russia's Prosecutor-General's Office to fend off a US fraud case against one of her clients.

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And a sheaf of Ms. Veselnitskaya's email correspondence released Friday appeared to show that her relationship with Mr. Chaika's office is far closer than she has described.

The documents were obtained by an organization called Dossier, which is funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oil baron who was imprisoned for years and his oil company assets sold off. "Since 2013, I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general". The meeting, one focus of the special counsel investigation into Russia's election interference, was organized after an intermediary promised that Ms. Veselnitskaya would deliver documents that would incriminate Mrs. Clinton.

Donald Trump Jr. has said the June 2016 meeting with Veselnitskaya included discussion of the Magnitsky Act sanctions. The encounter took place after Donald Trump Jr. was told she had potentially incriminating information about Trump's election opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

On Saturday, a CNN panel discussing the revelation got heated after guests started talking about just how shocking it is that the campaign team for an American presidential candidate met with someone tied to a foreign power to discuss getting dirt on an opponent, as the younger Trump admitted nearly a year ago. Now living outside of Russian Federation, he is a vocal critic of the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin.

Lawyer at Trump Tower meetings linked to Russian government