The meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya that occurred in June of 2016 supposedly to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton kicked the whole Russian collusion story up a notch. The email chain that was disclosed by Trump, Jr. showed an appalling lack of judgment on behalf of the Trump team. It showed that Trump, Jr. was collusion curious. The optics are horrible.
The meeting was arranged by the publicist of a Russian pop star, who has been described as an Enrique Iglesias wannabe who can only score gigs at the shopping mall his father owns near Moscow. That’s not exactly Tom Clancy Rainbow Six material here. The issue was the publicist said in the emails that the information obtained by the Russian government on Clinton was part of their effort to help Trump Jr.’s father win the 2016 election. That certainly raised a lot of questions, which resulted in Jared Kushner heading up to the Hill to answer questions from Congress over the matter. Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign manager, were also present at the meeting, though Kushner was said to have left minutes into the meeting and Manafort didn’t really pay attention, playing on his phone.
The meeting did not yield any information on Clinton. The 2016 election was reportedly never even discussed. It was a ruse to discuss Russian adoption law and the Magnitsky Act, which targets those the U.S. believes were involved in the death of Sergei Magnistky, an auditor, who alleged that massive fraud was occurring within the government. He was arrested in November of 2009, and died in custody. It was a total waste of time for the Trump campaign and Donald Trump, Jr. has admitted he would have handled things differently. Now, Bloomberg’s Steven Dennis reported Tuesday night that thousands of documents were turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee relating to the meeting last week (via Bloomberg):
The Trump campaign turned over about 20,000 pages of documents on Aug. 2, committee spokesman George Hartmann said Tuesday. Manafort provided about 400 pages on Aug. 2, including his foreign-advocacy filing, while Trump Jr. gave about 250 pages on Aug. 4, Hartmann said. The committee had asked them last month to start producing the documents by Aug. 2.
The committee asked for all records regarding any attempts or interest in obtaining information about Hillary Clinton from Russian government or affiliated sources, including the June 2016 meeting of Trump Jr., Manafort, Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner and a group of Russians including lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
The committee asked for documents related to any attempt to coordinate or use information related to Russia’s attempts to influence the election. It sought Manafort’s registration filings and contacts with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
The publication added that public hearings on this matter could occur as early as September. Mark your calendars.