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emails or the upcoming meeting. Similarly, neither Manafort nor Kushner recalled anyone informing candidate Trump of the meeting, including Trump Jr. President Trump has stated to this Office, in written answers to questions, that he has "no recollection of learning at the time" that his son, Manafort, or "Kushner was considering participating in a meeting in June 2016 concerning potentially negative information about Hillary Clinton."
- b. The Events of June 9, 2016
- i. Arrangements for the Meeting
Veselnitskaya was in New York on June 9, 2016, for appellate proceedings in the Prevezon civil forfeiture litigation. That day, Veselnitskaya called Rinat Akhmetshin, a Soviet-born U.S. lobbyist, and when she learned that he was in New York, invited him to lunch. Akhmetshin told the Office that he had worked on issues relating to the Magnitsky Act and had worked on the Prevezon litigation. Kaveladze and Anatoli Samochornov, a
- Interview of: Donald J. Trump, Jr., Senate Judiciary Committee, 115th Cong. 28-29, 84, 94-95 (Sept. 7, 2017). The Senate Judiciary Committee interview was not under oath, but Trump Jr. was advised that it is a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 to make materially false statements in a congressional investigation, Id. at 10-11.
- Manafort 9/11/18 302, at 3-4; Kushner 4/11/18 302, at 10.
- Written Responses of Donald J. Trump (Nov. 20, 2018), at 8 (Response to Question I, Parts (a)-(c)). We considered whether one sequence of events suggested that candidate Trump had contemporaneous knowledge of the June 9 meeting. On June 7, 2016 Trump announced his intention to give "a major speech" "probably Monday of next week"—which would have been June 13—about "all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons." See, e.g, Phillip Bump, What we know about the Trump Tower meeting, Washington Post (Aug. 7, 2018). Following the June 9 meeting, Trump changed the subject of his planned speech to national security. But the Office did not find evidence that the original idea for the speech was connected to the anticipated June 9 meeting or that the change of topic was attributable to the failure of that meeting to produce concrete evidence about Clinton. Other events, such as the Pulse nightclub shooting on June 12, could well have caused the change. The President's written answers to our questions state that the speech's focus was altered "[i]n light of' the Pulse nightclub shooting. See Written Responses, supra. As for the original topic of the June 13 speech, Trump has said that "he expected to give a speech referencing the publicly available, negative information about the Clintons," and that the draft of the speech prepared by Campaign staff "was based on publicly available material, including, in particular, information from the book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer." Written Responses, supra. In a later June 22 speech, Trump did speak extensively about allegations that Clinton was corrupt, drawing from the Clinton Cash book. See Full Transcript: Donald Trump NYC Speech on Stakes of the Election, politico.com (June 22, 2016).
- Testimony of Natalia Veselnitskaya Before the Senate Committee on Judiciary (Nov. 20, 2017) at 41, 42; Alison Frankel, How Did Russian Lawyer Veselnitskaya Get into U.S, for Trump Tower Meeting? Reuters, (Nov. 6, 2017); Michael Kranish et al., Russian Lawyer who Met with Trump Jr. Has Long History Fighting Sanctions, Washington Post (July 11, 2017); see OSC-KAV00113 (6/8/16 Email, Goldstone to Kaveladze); RG000073 (6/8/16 Email, Goldstone to Trump Jr.); Lieberman 12/13/17 302, at 5; see also Prevezon Holdings Order (Oct. 17, 2016).
- Akhmetsin 11/14/17 302, at 4-6;