The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have both interviewed a Georgian-American businessman regarding his involvement with the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer, according to a new report.
Although the panels were aware Irakly Kaveladze had attended the 2016 meeting, their interest was heightened when investigators discovered he was present at a 2013 private dinner in Las Vegas to celebrate that Miss Universe pageant — owned by President Trump — would be held in Moscow that year, Reuters reported.
Kaveladze is a U.S.-based representative of the Crocus Group, Azerbaijani oligarch Aras Agalarov’s real estate firm. Agalarov was also present at the 2013 dinner.
The panels are interested in the extent of Kaveladze’s contact with President Trump and his family. They are also curious what role he had in setting up the meeting at Trump Tower.
According to Scott Balber, Kaveladze’s lawyer, Kaveladze was present at both events, but claimed he had not arranged the 2016 meeting, noting that Kaveladze was there to translate the meeting. Kaveladze’s translating skills were not required though because Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer, had brought a translator.
Balber said Kaveladze was not being targeted in the probe.
“No one has ever told me that they have any interest in him other than as a witness,” Balber said, according to Reuters.
Trump Jr. had agreed to the meeting with Veselnitskaya after being promised dirt on then-2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He had been told Veselnitskaya would provide “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary (Clinton) and her dealings with Russia,” by Rob Goldstone, a British music promoter who works for Russian oligarchs with connections to the Kremlin and who shares business and social connections to the Trumps.
But Veselnitskaya said she agreed to the meeting with hopes that the Trump team would look into the Magnitsky Act, which froze assets of Russian investigators and prosecutors and prevents them from entering the U.S. She said she did not discuss hacked or leaked emails, social media campaigns, or other subjects concerning Russian interference in the 2016 election, it was reported earlier this month.
In addition to Trump Jr., former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were present at the meeting.
The meeting has served as a focal point of investigations being conducted by several congressional committees and by special counsel Robert Mueller, who are probing whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign.