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Trump officials met with lawyer known as ‘a tool of the Russian government’ during 2016 campaign

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Senior White House adviser — and son-in-law to President Donald Trump — Jared Kushner and then-Trump 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort met with a lawyer with close ties to the Kremlin shortly after Trump secured the Republican nomination, says a bombshell report in Saturday’s New York Times.

Matt Apuzzo, Jo Becker and Adam Goldman of the Times reported that Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya had a previously undisclosed meeting at Trump Tower with campaign officials on June 9, 2016 — a meeting that neither Kushner nor Manafort reported to the federal government as required by law.

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President Trump and his advisers have long maintained that there is no evidence that the campaign colluded with Russian officials to meddle with the outcome of the 2016 election.

However, the Times said, “(T)his episode at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, is the first confirmed private meeting between a Russian national and members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle during the campaign. It is also the first time that his son Donald J. Trump Jr. is known to have been involved in such a meeting.”

When the Times spoke with representatives of Pres. Trump and Kushner, they admitted that the meeting took place as described. Trump Jr. issued a statement saying that the meeting was about an adoption program.

Veselnitskaya, the Times said, has been running a “multi-pronged attack” against a U.S. law known as the Magnitsky Act, which blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers. Russian President Vladimir Putin was so enraged by the law that he retaliated by halting American adoptions of Russian children.

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She is married to a former Kremlin official and her legal clients include Russian state-owned companies as well as the son of a senior government official whose company was under investigation by the U.S. government at the time of the Trump Tower meeting.

In addition to challenging the Magnitsky Act in court, she was active in the production of a propaganda film called “The Magnitsy Act — Behind the Scenes” which made false attacks on the legacy of the Russian dissident the act is named for, Sergei L. Magnitsky, who died under mysterious circumstances in a Russian prison in 2009.

Research, said the Times, shows Veselnitskaya to be a “formidable operator with a history of pushing the Kremlin’s agenda.”

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“She’s not just some private lawyer,” said longtime Veselnitskaya legal adversary William F. Browder — who is maligned as one of the villains in the Magnitsky smear film. “She is a tool of the Russian government.”

Kushner and Manafort ultimately admitted to the meeting, filing notification with the FBI long after their initial applications for security clearances. Donald Trump Jr. is not a government employee and was not obligated to disclose his meetings with foreign nationals and envoys of other governments.

Manafort has also registered after the fact to being a foreign agent on U.S. soil after information came to light about the millions of dollars he was paid as a consultant to the pro-Putin, anti-sovereignty party in Ukraine, a regime that ended in disgrace with its leader in exile.

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Read the full report here.


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CNN lays out damning timeline of Trump and Giuliani’s calls to Ukraine seeking dirt on Biden

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Following Rudy Giuliani's extraordinary appearance on CNN on Thursday night, where he may have admitted the commission of a crime, the hosts of CNN's "New Day" compiled a timeline linking the approximate date of Trump's phone call that was flagged by a whistleblower to subsequent events involving Ukraine.

According to the timeline, presented by hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota, Trump spoke with the president of Ukraine on July 25, with Giuliani meeting with him later that month.

What followed was the August 12 whistleblower complaint and then Trump blocking aide to Ukraine by the end of the month.

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Is Trump a master of ‘3-D chess’? Expert says nope

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Politics is often conceived as a type of game. To win, a person or group must amass more power than the other players in order to advance their own goals. Victory can be achieved through cooperation with the other players, domination over them or some combination of the two.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Alternatively, a person or group can decide not to participate in this current version of politics, while they seek to invent their own game with different rules.

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Watch Rudy Giuliani’s stunning confession that he has been pressuring Ukraine officials for dirt on Biden

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Attorney for the president Rudy Giuliani gave a combative, belligerent and downright incoherent interview on CNN Thursday evening, raving about a ballooning scandal involving Donald Trump and Ukraine.

Giuliani and Trump have apparently been pressuring the country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a probe that could help the president’s re-election campaign. That massive scandal had been unfurling on its own for months, but it blew up Thursday when multiple reports revealed that a mysteriously suppressed whistleblower complaint in the intelligence community reportedly concerns Trump’s conduct and the country of Ukraine.

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