In June of 2016, Donald Trump Jr. received an email from Rob Goldstone, the publicist of a pop star that’s acquainted with the Trump family. “The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” wrote Goldstone.
“If it’s what you say it is, I love it!” Trump Jr. replied, in what would lead to an infamous meeting in Trump tower with a Russian lawyer named Nataliya Veselnitskaya.
Veselnitskaya ended up having none of the information she claimed – and instead spent the meeting railing against the Magnitsky Act, which places sanctions on certain Russian individuals.
The Act is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who exposed corruption within Russia’s government while being employed at the hedge fund Hermitage Capital. Magnitsky was arrested, detained, and eventually beaten to death while in captivity. Hermitage’s CEO Bill Browder successfully lobbied for the “Magnitsky Act” to be passed in the U.S. to hold the Russians believed to be responsible.
Most interesting, Veselnitskaya was working for Fusion GPS at the time of the Trump Tower meeting, the firm that produced the anti-Trump dossier. Was she trying to compromise Trump? Veselnitskaya looks like a snake – and Browder is speaking out to confirm as much.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
“Putin hates the Magnitsky Act, as we know,” Mr. Browder says, “and looks for different ways to stop it. And one of his projects—well-resourced, with millions of dollars—was Veselnitskaya. She was deputized for this project because she represented the Katsyv family—Putin cronies caught up in laundering some Magnitsky money in the U.S. Some of that money enabled the purchase of apartment buildings in New York by Denis Katsyv, whose father is a government official close to Putin.” (In May 2017 Mr. Katsyv’s company, Prevezon Holdings, reached a $5.9 million settlement with the U.S. government, thereby avoiding a trial. The company and the Katsyvs denied any wrongdoing.)
In Mr. Browder’s account, Ms. Veselnitskaya came to America on behalf of the Katsyvs when the U.S. Justice Department began a forfeiture order for the properties. Ms. Veselnitskaya then began “a legal campaign to extricate the Katsyvs” from the case “and a political campaign to repeal the Magnitsky Act.”
And who did Veselnitskaya hire back in 2014 to help with her anti-Magnitsky work? Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS:
Mr. Browder tells me he heard from reporters that as the campaign against the Magnitsky Act proceeded, Mr. Simpson was pitching a story that “Magnitsky wasn’t murdered, he died of natural causes,” that “Magnitsky wasn’t a whistleblower, he was a criminal,” and that “Bill Browder telling this story is in contempt of Congress and perjuring himself.” (Through a lawyer, Mr. Simpson declined to comment. In November Mr. Simpson testified before the House Intelligence Committee: “I obviously think Sergei Magnitsky was killed in prison by neglect, if not worse.”)
There is only a “debate” over Magnitsky’s death in the world of Russian propaganda, not reality.
And now we’re in the situation where a firm that once helped push Russian propaganda, helped fund an infamous dossier that claimed Trump was colluding with the Russians, while still working with Veselnitskaya.
Not only that, Veselnitskaya met with Glenn Simpson the day of and the day after the Trump Tower meeting.
What was her goal? Did she want to damage the Trump campaign by giving the public appearance of the meeting with the Russians? Or was she looking to gather intel on the Trump team to report back? Let us know in the comments section below.