Trump with Emin and Aras Agalarov
Trump with Emin and Aras Agalarov at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant

Who was Really Behind Don. Jr.’s Meeting to get Dirt on Clinton?

On June 6, 2016, Donald trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort all met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Originally Don Jr. claimed the meeting was set up by an acquaintance, and was to discuss an adoption issue. This was yet another meeting that Kusher left off his SF86 security, only adding it later when it was made public that he had failed to report other meetings with Russians.

Of course the adoption issue they were referring to was when Putin halted US adoptions of Russian orphans after Obama sanctioned Russian human rights abusers through the Magnitsky Act. Putin has always wanted those sanctions lifted, so it is clear that Veselnitskaya was acting on his behalf. It is also clear that both Don. Jr. and Kushner were using “adoption” as a codeword for discussions on removing sanctions.

By Sunday, Donald Trump’s Jr.’s story changed, after the New York Times confronted him with leaks from within the White House on the real reason for the meeting. After having denied that there was any discussion about Hillary Clinton, he admitted that the meeting had been arranged to discuss dirt on Clinton, and the Magnitsky sanctions came up in the conservation later on. On Monday, we found out that Don Jr. was told in an email what the meeting was about in advance. The email from Goldstone told him a foreign government had information that could hurt Hillary Clinton. It did not mention adoptions.

On Tuesday the Russian lawyer spoke out for the first time and said the Trump campaign and Goldstone reached out to her to arrange the meeting because they were desperate for dirt on Clinton. Later Tuesday, Don Jr. released the emails after the NYT called and told him they were about to publish them. The emails showed he was fully aware that he was meeting with a Russian government lawyer, that the Russian government was working to get his father elected, and that the sole purpose of the meeting was to receive incriminating information on Clinton from the Russian government.

At this point, Don Jr.’s ever changing story still insists that Kushner and Manafort were unaware of who they were meeting with, or the reason why. Frankly it is beyond belief that two top campaign officials would attend any meeting under those circumstances. He also insists that his father never knew of the meeting, and was never briefed on it afterwards. I have a feeling those statements are also subject to change when those involved are questioned under oath. After all, four hours after Don Jr. confirmed meeting with the Russian lawyer, on June 7, 2016, Donald Trump Sr. promised a press conference the next week with dirt on Clinton.

The timing of the meeting also presents other questions, though few answers as yet. It happened shortly after Trump won the Republican presidential nomination, one week after DNC was hacked and week before hack was announced. A month later GOP platform on Ukraine was changed to remove support for supplying arms to Ukraine. It was the only change the Trump campaign insisted on in the entire Republican platform. We have no idea who possessed the hacked DNC emails after this meeting, but they waited a few weeks until the Access Hollywood tape aired before releasing them thru Wikieaks.

Who was the Acquaintance?

On Monday, we found out the identity of Don Jr.’s acquaintance, the person Don Jr. claims set up the meeting. His name is Rob Goldstone, the president of a company called Oui 2 Entertainment. He is the agent for Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star, which takes us to the real power broker behind the meeting, Aras Agalarov, Emin’s father.

In 2013, Trump made a deal with Russian business partners to hold the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Those Russian’s were billionaire Russian real estate moguls Aras Agalarov and his son Emin. Aras Agalarov, like most Russian oligarchs, has close ties to Putin. Shortly after the Miss Universe pageant, Putin presented Aras Agalarov with the Order of Honor, one of Russia’s highest civilian awards.

His son Emin, 36, a dance-pop singer with ambitions to international stardom, had Trump appear in one of his music videos. After returning from the pageant, Trump boasted that “almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.” Aras Agalarov’s company, Crocus Group, has won contracts from Putin’s Kremlin, including for two World Cup 2018 stadiums. During the 2013 meetings with the Agalarovs, concerning the Miss Universe pageant, they were joined by Alex Sapir and Rotem Rosen, two New York-based Russian developers who helped to develop the Trump Soho hotel and condominium project in Manhattan.

Wil Donnelly

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