Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney who met with key members of the Trump presidential campaign last June, told NBC’s Today on Tuesday that the Trump team was desperately hoping she could give them damaging information about Hillary Clinton last year.
During the interview, Veselnitskaya claimed that she had been called out of the blue by someone whom she didn’t know and was asked to meet with Trump Jr. at Trump Tower last year.
When she went there, she didn’t have any intention of revealing any significantly damaging information about the Clinton campaign, despite the fact that Trump Jr. had been told that was the entire point of the meeting.
When asked by NBC’s Keir Simmons why members of the Trump campaign would think that she had damaging information on Clinton, Veselnitskaya replied that they perhaps expected her to deliver because they were so desperate for dirt that they projected their wishes onto the meeting.
“It’s quite possible that maybe they were looking for such information,” she told Simmons. “They wanted it so badly.”
Veselnitskaya also denied that she had any connections to the Russian government, and she said that she was initially told that she would only be meeting with Trump Jr., and was thus surprised to find Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chief Paul Manafort also present.
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out a defense of his meeting with Veselnitskaya on Tuesday, and insisted that it amounted to a non-story.
“Media & Dems are extremely invested in the Russia story,” he wrote. “If this nonsense meeting is all they have after a [year], I understand the desperation!”
Media & Dems are extremely invested in the Russia story. If this nonsense meeting is all they have after a yr, I understand the desperation!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 11, 2017
Watch the full interview below.