The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the latest Russiagate hoax revelation that the FBI knew that the Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya had nothing to do with any type of collusion against Hillary Clinton.
This has been confirmed by a trusted Russian translator who was present at the meeting and told Robert Mueller that the Trump Tower meeting was not about Clinton ‘dirt’, completely corroborating what Veselnitskaya and Trump Jr., have also stated.
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The Russian translator who attended the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians and President Trump’s campaign members told special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators there was no discussion of the election or collusion.
Anatoli Samochornov, a Russian-born interpreter who had worked for Fusion GPS-linked Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, told FBI agents just days after the meeting was made public in July 2017 that Donald Trump Jr.’s recollections of the encounter were correct and no damaging information about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was offered.
The translator’s account, which does not appear in the redacted version of Mueller’s 448-page report released to the public, was disclosed in seven pages of FBI interview notes released because of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits brought by BuzzFeed and CNN. It was first reported by RealClearInvestigations.
“Samochornov could not speak for other occasions, but said there was no discussion about the 2016 U.S. presidential election or collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign at the meeting,” FBI investigators wrote about their July 12, 2017, interview. “There was no smoking gun according to Samochornov. There was not a discussion about ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton. Samochornov did not think Hillary Clinton was mentioned by name at the meeting. Samochornov had not heard Veselnitskaya say anything about having ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton.”
Mueller’s report on Russian election interference detailed how the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump Jr., campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and a number of Russians, including Samochornov and Veselnitskaya, was pitched to the Trump campaign as an opportunity to get damaging information on Clinton, who was Trump’s main rival in the 2016 election. But Veselnitskaya pulled a bait-and-switch and turned the meeting into a presentation on Russia’s desire to repeal the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 law hated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, sanctioning Russia over the death of Russian corruption whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.
Trump Jr. issued a series of statements when the Trump Tower meeting was revealed in early July 2017, denying the Russians provided anti-Clinton dirt.
He said that “we primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children … since ended by the Russian government.”
Trump’s eldest son elaborated by saying Veselnitskaya “stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton” but “began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act” and “it became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext.”
Trump Jr. tweeted that “the information they suggested they had about Hillary Clinton I thought was Political Opposition Research” and “she had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act.”
Samochornov’s FBI interview was the next day.
“Samochornov was not particularly fond of Donald Trump Jr., but stated Donald Trump Jr’s account of the meeting with Veselnitskaya, as portrayed in recent media reports, was accurate,” FBI investigators wrote. “Samochornov concurred with Donald Trump Jr.’s accounts of the meeting. He added, ‘they’ were telling the truth. Samochornov told the interviewing agents that he would have contacted the FBI if he thought the meeting was nefarious.”
Trump Jr. said in March 2017 that “I’m sure I did” meet with some Russians during the campaign “but none that were set up” and “certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape, or form.” When asked if he had discussed government policies related to Russia with any Russians, he said: “A 100% no.”
Samochornov’s interview with the FBI is mentioned in the Mueller report’s footnotes 10 times.
The Trump Tower meeting was proposed to Trump Jr. by British music promoter Robert Goldstone at the request of his boss, Emin Agalarov, son of Aras Agalarov, a Russian developer who worked with Trump. In an email exchange, Goldstone claimed the “Crown prosecutor of Russia” had information that could “incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia.” Trump Jr. said in response, “If it’s what you say, I love it.”
Veselnitskaya was a former Russian prosecutor performing government-related lobbying in the United States against the Magnitsky Act. Prevezon Holdings was alleged to have laundered fraudulent money exposed by Magnitsky, so Veselnitskaya hired BakerHostetler to help Prevezon in court — and the firm hired Fusion GPS. Prevezon later settled for $5.9 million in what the Justice Department called “a $230 million Russian tax refund fraud scheme involving corrupt Russian officials.”
Bill Browder, a hedge fund founder and Magnitsky’s friend, was a major advocate for the law and has been publicly attacked by Putin.
Glenn Simpson, Fusion GPS’s founder, testified he started working with Veselnitskaya in 2014. Simpson knew the research he conducted opposing the Magnitsky Act and criticizing Browder made its way to Veselnitskaya. Simpson met with Veselnitskaya the day before the Trump Tower meeting, the day of it, and the day after Simpson claimed he didn’t know Veselnitskaya was connected to the Kremlin and didn’t know about the Trump Tower meeting beforehand.
At the meeting, Veselnitskaya presented a dossier echoing Kremlin talking points that was passed to a Republican congressman by the Russian prosecutor general’s office in April 2016, criticizing the Magnitsky Act and calling Browder a “fugitive criminal” engaged in a fraudulent scheme in support of Democrats. The dossier also criticized the Ziff Brothers, two American investors and Democratic donors.
In Senate testimony, Simpson admitted to researching many allegations that appeared in Veselnitskaya’s talking points. When Trump Jr. asked Veselnitskaya for proof, she did not provide any.
The Russians then complained about U.S. sanctions and mentioned Russian adoption, and the Trump associates considered it a waste of time.
“According to Samochornov, Veselnitskaya had misplaced hopes that the meeting attendees would be more receptive to her information,” the FBI’s notes said. “Samochornov told the interviewing agents that Veselnitskaya would seek any avenues to advance her cause.”
Mueller’s report said the anti-Magnitsky group controlled by Veselnitskya “offered to pay $90,000 of Samochornov’s legal fees” and “at Veselnitskaya’s request, the organization sent Samochornov a transcript of a Veselnitskaya press interview, and Samochornov understood that the organization would pay his legal fees only if he made statements consistent with Veselnitskaya’s.”
Mueller said, “Samochornov declined, telling the Office that he did not want to perjure himself.”
The Justice Department later unsealed an indictment against Veselnitskaya, now out of reach in Russia, alleging she obstructed justice during the Prevezon case through secret collaboration with Russia.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.