Trump Jr meeting: Russia lobbyist confirms attendance

Trump Jr meeting: Russia lobbyist confirms attendance

Donald Trump Jr and Natalia VeselnitskayaImage copyright

Image caption

Controversy surrounds Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya

A Russian-American lobbyist also attended a meeting last year that has embroiled President Donald Trump’s son in the Russia inquiry, it has emerged.

Rinat Akhmetshin told AP news agency he went to the meeting at which Donald Trump Jr was promised Kremlin-linked material about Hillary Clinton.

“I never thought this would be such a big deal, to be honest,” Mr Akhmetshin told the AP.

Congress is asking the president’s son to publicly testify about the meeting.

Emails show Mr Trump Jr, together with the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and campaign chairman Paul Manafort, met Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had reported ties to the Russian government, on 9 June 2016.

Emails show the encounter was arranged under the premise that Ms Veselnitskaya would share damaging information about Mrs Clinton, Mr Trump’s Democratic party rival for the White House.

Mr Trump Jr said it later became apparent that Ms Veselnitskaya wanted to discuss a suspended programme for Americans to adopt Russian children.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDonald Trump Jr maintains that there was nothing to tell his father President Trump

Congressional and federal investigators are scrutinising alleged Russian meddling in the US election.

Since he was elected, President Trump has been dogged by allegations that Russia tried to sabotage Mrs Clinton’s campaign to help him win.

He has rejected any knowledge of this and Russia has also repeatedly denied interfering.

During a news conference in Paris, Mr Trump defended his son, saying he was merely attempting to collect opposition research and that “most people would have taken that meeting”.

“Nothing happened from the meeting. Zero happened,” Mr Trump insisted.