Senate panel releases transcripts on Trump Tower meeting


Donald Trump Jr. told congressional investigators he was interested in "listening to information" from a Russian lawyer that could damage Hillary Clinton's campaign, but he said he did not discuss the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with his father.

"Americans rightly have many questions about this meeting, and today, we are releasing the transcripts and exhibits from interviews we've conducted to allow the public to know what we know", Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement.

The committee did not interview Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer at the centre of the meeting.

In addition, the transcripts reflect an aggressive Russian outreach to Trump both before and after the June 2016 meeting, including an effort to arrange a follow-up get-together that November with members of his transition team.

What are the key things the documents tell us?

In addition to Trump Jr., the committee interviewed four other people who attended the Trump Tower meeting in NY - publicist Rob Goldstone, who set up the meeting with the promise of dirt on Clinton; Rinat Akhmetshin, a prominent Russian-American lobbyist; Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer, and a translator.

Donald Trump acknowledging that his father may have been involved in drafting a press statement a year ago that attempted to explain a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian attorney.

The 2016 Trump Tower meeting set up to reveal dirt on Hillary Clinton "infuriated" Jared Kushner, was a "waste of time" and had nothing to do with Clinton, according to transcripts of interviews with the meeting's participants.

He said he was not aware whether anyone else on the campaign had contact with WikiLeaks. He also doesn't go into detail about why he would love it "especially later in the summer".

The meeting has been the subject of controversy, particularly the question of whether then-candidate Trump knew about it.

Kaveladze works for Aras Agalarov, a Russian developer who helped organize the meeting with his pop singer son, Emin.

"After a few minutes of this labored presentation, Jared Kushner, who is sitting next to me, appeared somewhat agitated by this and said, 'I really have no idea what you're talking about".

Donald Trump jnr's email back-and-forth with Rob Goldstone.

But he did say "he may have commented through Hope Hicks", his former spokeswoman.

Mr Trump Jr deflected multiple questions during the interview, saying he could not recall whether he discussed the Russian Federation probe with his father and whether he spoke with Mr Trump on the day the meeting was arranged.

The White House has said the president was involved in drafting an initial statement after news of the meeting broke a year ago.

The reason this is relevant is that it could be evidence that the president was engaging in a cover-up to hide the nature of the Trump Tower meeting.

Misleading the public or the media itself is not illegal, but attempts at deception could be evidence of a larger effort to hide potentially incriminating actions. A super-secret society? Who or what are the "active sponsors of RNC" - and does RNC stand for the Republican National Committee? Browder, who renounced his US citizenship and now lives in the United Kingdom, was a leading advocate for the Magnitsky Act through which the US Congress imposed sanctions on Russian Federation for human rights violations.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has looked closely at the meeting as part of his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which has not yet turned up any evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia.

"He said, "it doesn't matter. You just need to get the meeting'".

Like Trump Jr. and Kushner, who released a public statement about the meeting previous year, Goldstone said the meeting was disappointing. They worked out who should sit where, and I sat next to Mr. Kushner.