The Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower last year said the president’s oldest son told her the U.S. government would review a 2012 law punishing Russian human rights abusers if Donald Trump won the presidency, according to a report.
The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told Bloomberg that Trump Jr. also asked for proof that Hillary Clinton’s campaign received illicit money from Democratic donors.
“Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it,” Trump Jr. said of the 2012 Magnitsky Act, according to Veselnitskaya. “I understand our side may have messed up, but it’ll take a long time to get to the bottom of it.”
Veselnitskaya attended a meeting at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, with Trump Jr., then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Veselnitskaya said she met with Trump Jr. and other campaign officials last year to show them evidence that Democratic donors evaded taxes and to push for the repeal of the 2012 Magnitsky Act.
Specifically, she said she had sent Trump Jr. information about Ziff Brothers Investments, which is linked to hedge fund manager William Browder. Browder and Ziff Brothers Investments invested in Russia, and Browder pushed for passage of the Magnitsky Act, which Veselnitskaya is lobbying against.
But she said Trump Jr. didn't seem to familiarize himself with that information, and instead, he asked her for more documentation showing that their money went to the Clintons. Ziff Brothers donated between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative, as well as Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Alan Futerfas, Trump Jr.’s lawyer, said the eldest of Trump’s children had no comment about Veselnitskaya’s interview with Bloomberg.
Both Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya said the meeting quickly turned from information related to Clinton’s campaign to the Magnitsky Act, and it lasted only a short time.
The June 2016 meeting has been scrutinized by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, after it was revealed Trump Jr. was promised damaging information on Clinton.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is also looking into the Trump Tower meeting as part of its probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Veselnitskaya told Bloomberg in an interview she wants to share information about the meeting with lawmakers, but wants her answers to be public.
“I made up my mind a long time ago: My testimony must be honest, full and public,” Veselnitskaya told Bloomberg.
A spokesman for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wouldn’t say whether the panel would make Veselnitskaya’s answers public.