Ex-Soviet spy didn’t think Trump Jr. meeting was a big deal

An ex-Soviet intelligence officer-turned-US lobbyist acknowledged Friday that he attended a June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who promised to dish dirt about Hillary Clinton.

Rinat Akhmetshin confirmed his participation to The Associated Press.

He said the sit down with Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and current White House senior adviser, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort was “not substantive.”

He said he “actually expected more serious” discussion.

“I never thought this would be such a big deal to be honest,” he told The AP about the meeting, which has roiled the Trump administration.

Asked about Akhmetshin and his role in the June 2016 meeting, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters Friday: “We don’t know anything about this person.”

The meeting heightened questions about whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with the Kremlin during the election, which is the focus of federal and congressional probes.

Trump Jr. has posted emails this week detailing an associate’s plans for the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to meet with Trump Jr. to pass on compromising information about the Democratic candidate.

The associate — music publicist Rob Goldstone — stated clearly that the discussion was part of a Russian government effort to help the GOP candidate.

Trump Jr. has confirmed that Veselnitskaya attended the meeting, but he did not disclose Akhmetshin’s presence.

The president’s son has tried to discount the meeting, saying he did not receive the information he was promised during the brief encounter.

Meanwhile, House Democrats are renewing calls for a vote on an independent commission to investigate Russia’s election meddling and ties to Team Trump.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California also said that Kushner’s security clearance should be revoked.

Pelosi and other top House Democrats spoke at a news conference Friday insisting they would try to force votes on the issue on the House floor — although their ability to do so is limited.

Pelosi said that “House Democrats are not going to let the Republicans off the hook for their complicity … They have become enablers of the violations of our Constitution, the attack on the integrity of our elections.”

She added that “House Republicans will have to answer for their actions.”

With Post Wires

Source: http://nypost.com/2017/07/14/ex-soviet-spy-didnt-think-trump-jr-meeting-was-a-big-deal/

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