July 18 (UPI) — The vice president of a Russian real estate company with ties to President Donald Trump attended a meeting last year between Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked attorney who said she had damaging information about Hillary Clinton, the man’s lawyer said Tuesday.
Ike Kaveladze was the eighth person identified to be in attendance at the meeting, his lawyer, Scott Balber, confirmed to The Washington Post and ABC News. Balber said Kaveladze went to the meeting as part of his job with the Crocus Group upon request from the company’s president, Aras Agalarov.
Aras Agalarov is the father of Russian singer Emin Agalarov, a client of Rob Goldstone, who arranged the meeting by email with Trump Jr. Balber said Kaveladze believed he was attending the meeting to act as a translator, but the lawyer who said she had the incriminating information on Clinton, Natalia Veselnitskaya, brought her own.
Balber said his client has agreed to be interviewed in a request made by a representative of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is heading the FBI probe of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Balber said Kaveladze is a U.S. citizen and has lived in the United States for a number of years.
A total of eight people have been identified as attendees of the meeting:
— Trump Jr.
— Paul Manafort, then-Trump campaign chairman
— Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and current adviser
— Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist who served in a counterintelligence unit of the former Soviet military
— Anatoli Samochornov, a former State Department employee acting as translator for Veselnitskaya
The gathering happened after Goldstone reached out to Trump Jr., saying Veselnitskaya had potentially damaging information on Clinton’s campaign. Trump Jr. on July 11 released an email chain between himself and Goldstone, in which the latter described Veselnitskaya as a “Russian government attorney,” and the information in question as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. [Donald] Trump.”
Veselnitskaya disputes Goldstein’s characterization of her as a government lawyer.
Trump Jr. has dismissed suggestions he did anything wrong by meeting with Veselnitskaya.
In a statement released Sunday, he said she made “vague” and “ambiguous” statements that “made no sense” related to the alleged incriminating information about Clinton.
Trump Jr. then said Veselnitskaya’s “true agenda” was to discuss the U.S. adoption of Russian children, which Moscow has banned, and the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 U.S. law that intended to punish Russian human rights abusers following the 2009 death of imprisoned Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
“I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign. I was not told her name prior to the meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to attend, but told them nothing of the substance,” Trump Jr. said.
“We had a meeting in June 2016. After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense.”
On July 11, Trump Jr. told Fox News he had nothing to hide and would be willing to testify about the meeting.
“This [was] pre-Russia fever. This [was] pre-Russia mania,” he said. “I don’t think my sirens went [off] or my antenna went up at this time because it wasn’t the issue that it’s been made out to be over the last nine months, 10 months.”