5. June 9, 2016 Meeting at Trump Tower
On June 9, 2016, senior representatives of the Trump Campaign met in Trump Tower with a Russian attorney expecting to receive derogatory information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. The meeting was proposed to Donald Trump Jr. in an email from Robert Goldstone, at the request of his then-client Emin Agalarov, the son of Russian real-estate developer Aras Agalarov. Goldstone relayed to Trump Jr. that the" Crown prosecutor of Russia... offered to provide the Trump Campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia'' as" part of Russia and its government 's support for Mr. Trump.'' Trump Jr. immediately responded that" if it 's what you say I love it,'' and arranged the meeting through a series of emails and telephone calls.
Trump Jr. invited campaign chairman Paul Manafort and senior advisor Jared Kushner to attend the meeting, and both attended. Members of the Campaign discussed the meeting before it occurred, and Michael Cohen recalled that Trump Jr. may have told candidate Trump about an upcoming meeting to receive adverse information about Clinton, without linking the meeting to Russia. According to written answers submitted by President Trump, he has no recollection of learning of the meeting at the time, and the Office found no documentary evidence showing that he was made aware of the meeting-- or its Russian connection-before it occurred.
The Russian attorney who spoke at the meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had previously worked for the Russian government and maintained a relationship with that government throughout this period of time. She claimed that funds derived from illegal activities in Russia were provided to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats. Trump Jr. requested evidence to support those claims, but Veselnitskaya did not provide such information. She and her associates then turned to a critique of the origins of the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 statute that imposed financial and travel sanctions on Russian officials and that resulted in a retaliatory ban on adoptions of Russian children. Trump Jr. suggested that the issue could be revisited when and if candidate Trump was elected. After the election, Veselnitskaya made additional efforts to follow up on the meeting, but the Trump Transition Team did not engage.
a. Setting Up the June 9 Meeting
i. Outreach to Donald Trump Jr..
Aras Agalarov is a Russian real-estate developer with ties to Putin and other members of the Russian government, including Russia 's Prosecutor General, Yuri Chaika. Aras Agalarov is the president of the Crocus Group, a Russian enterprise that holds substantial Russian government construction contracts and that- as discussed above, Volume I, Section IV.A.I, supra-- worked with Trump in connection with the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and a potential Trump Moscow real-estate project. The relationship continued over time, as the parties pursued the Trump Moscow project in 2013-2014 and exchanged gifts and letters in 2016. For example, in April 2016, Trump responded to a letter from Aras Agalarov with a handwritten note. Aras Agalarov expressed interest in Trump 's campaign, passed on" congratulations'' for winning in the primary and-according to one email drafted by Goldstone-an " offer'' of his" support and that of many of his important Russian friends and colleagues[,] especially with reference to U.S./ Russian relations.''
On June 3, 2016, Emin Agalarov called Goldstone, Emin 's then-publicist. Goldstone is · a music and events promoter who represented Emin Agalarov from approximately late 2012 until late 2016. While representing Emin Agalarov, Goldstone facilitated the ongoing contact between the Trumps and the Agalarovs-- including an invitation that Trump sent to Putin to attend the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow.[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY]. Goldstone understood[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY] a Russian political connection, and Emin Agalarov indicated that the attorney was a prosecutor. Goldstone recalled that the information that might interest the Trumps involved Hillary Clinton[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY].[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY].
The[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY] mentioned by Emin Agalarov was Natalia Veselnitskaya. From approximately 1998 until 2001, Veselnitskaya worked as a prosecutor for the Central Administrative District of the Russian Prosecutor 's Office, and she continued to perform government-related work and maintain ties to the Russian government following her departure. She lobbied and testified about the Magnitsky Act, which imposed financial sanctions and travel restrictions on Russian officials and which was named for a Russian tax specialist who exposed a fraud and later died in a Russian prison. Putin called the statute" a purely political, unfriendly act,'' and Russia responded by barring a list of current and former U.S. officials from entering Russia and by halting the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens. Veselnitskaya performed legal work for Denis Katsyv, the son of Russian businessman Peter Katsyv, and for his company Prevezon Holdings Ltd., which was a defendant in a civil-forfeiture action alleging the laundering of proceeds from the fraud exposed by Magnitsky. She also appears to have been involved in an April 2016 approach to a U.S. congressional delegation in Moscow offering" confidential information'' from" the Prosecutor General of Russia'' about" interactions between certain political forces in our two countries.'' I Shortly after his June 3 call with Emin Agalarov, Goldstone emailed Trump Jr.. The email stated:
Good morning Emln just called-and asked me to contact you with something very Interesting. The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered lo 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. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and Its government 's support for Mr. Trump- helped along by Aras and Emin. What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly? I can also send this Info to your father via Rhona, but it Is ultra-sensitive so wanted to send to you first. Best Rob Goldstone
Within minutes of this email, Trump Jr. responded, emailing back:" Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it 's what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back? '' Goldstone conveyed Trump Jr. 's interest to Emin Agalarov, emailing that Trump Jr." wants to speak personally on the issue.''
On June 6, 2016, Emin Agalarov asked Goldstone if there was''[ a] ny news,'' and Goldstone explained that Trump Jr. was likely still traveling for the" final elections... where[ T] rurnp will be` crowned' the official nominee.'' On the same day, Goldstone again emailed Trump Jr. and asked when Trump Jr. was" free to talk with Emin about this Hillary info.'' Trump Jr. asked if they could" speak now,'' and Goldstone arranged a call between Trump Jr. and Emin Agalarov. On June 6 and June 7, Trump Jr. and Emin Agalarov had multiple brief calls.
Also on June 6, 2016, Aras Agalarov called Ike Kaveladze and asked him to attend a meeting in New York with the Trump Organization. Kaveladze is a Georgia-born, naturalized U.S. citizen who worked in the United States for the Crocus Group and reported to Aras Agalarov. Kaveladze told the Office that, in a second phone call on June 6, 2016, Aras Agalarov asked Kaveladze if he knew anything about the Magnitsky Act, and Aras sent him a short synopsis for the meeting and Veselnitskaya 's business card. According to Kaveladze, Aras Agalarov said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Magnitsky Act, and he asked Kaveladze to translate.
ii. Awareness of the Meeting Within the Campaign
On June 7, Goldstone emailed Trump Jr. and said that" Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and[ t] he Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow.'' Trump Jr. replied that Manafort( identified as the" campaign boss''), Jared Kushner, and Trump Jr. would likely attend. Goldstone was surprised to learn that Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner would attend. Kaveladze[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY]" puzzled'' by the list of attendees and that he checked with one of Emin Agalarov 's assistants, Roman Beniaminov, who said that the purpose of the meeting was for Veselnitskaya to convey" negative information on Hillary Clinton." Beniaminov, however, stated that he did not recall having known or said that.
Early on June 8, 2016 Kushner emailed his assistant, asking her to discuss a 3:00 p.m. meeting the following day with Trump Jr.. Later that day, Trump Jr. forwarded the entirety of his email correspondence regarding the meeting with Goldstone to Manafort and Kushner, under the subject line" FW: Russia- Clinton- private and confidential,'' adding a note that the''[ m] eeting got moved to 4 tomorrow at my offices.'' Kushner then sent his assistant a email, informing her that the''[ m] eeting with don jr is 4 pm now.'' Manafort responded," See you then. P." 702
Rick Gates, who was the deputy campaign chairman, stated during interviews with the Office that in the days before June 9, 2016 Trump Jr. announced at a regular morning meeting of senior campaign staff and Trump family members that he had a lead on negative information about the Clinton Foundation. Gates believed that Trump Jr. said the information was coming from a group in Kyrgyzstan and that he was introduced to the group by a friend. Gates recalled that the meeting was attended by Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Paul Manafort, Hope Hicks, and, joining late, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. According to Gates, Manafort warned the group that the meeting likely would not yield vital information and they should be careful. Hicks denied any knowledge of the June 9 meeting before 2017, and Kushner did not recall if the planned June 9 meeting came up at all earlier that week.
Michael Cohen recalled being in Donald J. Trump ' s office on June 6 or 7 when Trump Jr. told his father that a meeting to obtain adverse information about Clinton was going forward. Cohen did not recall Trump Jr. stating that the meeting was connected to Russia. From the tenor of the conversation, Cohen believed that Trump Jr. had previously discussed the meeting with his father, although Cohen was not involved in any such conversation. In an interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, Trump Jr. stated that he did not inform his father about the 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,[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY] 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 Russian born translator who had assisted Veselnitskaya and Magnitsky-related lobbying and the Prevezon case, also attended the lunch.[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY] Veselnitskaya said she was meeting[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY] and asked Akhmetshin what she should tell him. According to several participants in the lunch, Veselnitskaya showed Akhmetshin a document alleging financial misconduct by Bill Browder and the Ziff brothers( Americans with business in Russia, and those individuals subsequently making political donations to the DNC.[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY]. The group then went to Trump Tower for thee meeting.
ii. Conduct of the Meeting
Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner participated on the Trump side, while Kaveladze, Samochornov, Akhmetshin, and Goldstone attended with Veselnitskaya. The Office spoke to every participant except Veselnitskaya a and Trump Jr., the latter of whom declined to be voluntarily interviewed by the Office[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY] The meeting lasted approximately 20 minutes.[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY]. Goldstone recalled that Trump Jr. invited Veselnitskaya to begin but did not say anything about the subject of the meeting. Participants agreed that Veselnitskaya stated that the Ziff brothers had broken Russian laws and had donated their profits to the DNC or the Clinton Campaign. She asserted that the Ziff brothers had engaged in tax evasion and money laundering in both the United States and Russia,[ REDACTED GRAND JURY]. According to Akhmetshin, Trump Jr. asked follow-up questions about how the alleged payments could be tied specifically to the Clinton Campaign, but Veselnitskaya indicated that she could not trace the money once it entered the United States. Kaveladze similarly recalled that Trump Jr. asked what they have on Clinton, and Kushner became aggravated and asked''[ w] hat are we doing here? ''
Akhmetshin then spoke about U.S. sanctions imposed under the Magnitsky Act and Russia 's response prohibiting U.S. adoption of Russian children. Several participants recalled that Trump Jr. that Trump is a private citizen, and there was nothing they could do at that time. Trump Jr. also said that they could revisit the issue if and when they were in government. Notes that Manafort took on his phone reflect the general flow of the conversation, although not all of its details.
At some point in the meeting, Kushner sent an iMessage to Manafort stating" waste of time,'' followed immediately by two separate emails to assistants at Kushner Companies with requests that they call him to give him an excuse to leave. Samochornov recalled that Kushner departed the meeting before it concluded; Veselnitskaya recalled the same when interviewed by the press in July 2017.
Veselnitskaya 's press interviews and written statements to Congress differ materially from other accounts. In a July 2017 press interview, Veselnitskaya claimed that she has no connection to the Russian government and had not referred to any derogatory information concerning the Clinton Campaign when she met with Trump Campaign officials. Veselnitskaya 's November 2017 written submission to the Senate Judiciary Committee stated that the purpose of the June 9 meeting was not to connect with" the Trump Campaign'' but rather to have" a private meeting with Donald Trump Jr.- a friend of my good acquaintance 's son on the matter of assisting me or my colleagues in informing the Congress members as to the criminal nature of manipulation and interference with the legislative activities of the US Congress.'' In other words, Veselnitskaya claimed her focus was on Congress and not the Campaign. No witness, however, recalled any reference to Congress during the meeting. Veselnitskaya also maintained that she" attended the meeting as a lawyer of Denis Katsyv,'' the pr, eviously mentioned owner of Prevezon Holdings, but she did not" introduce[ her] self in this capacity.''
In a July 2017 television interview, Trump Jr. stated that while he had no way to gauge the reliability, credibility, or accuracy of what Goldstone had stated was the purpose of the meeting, if" someone has information on our opponent... maybe this is something. I should hear them out.'' Trump Jr. fu1ther stated in September 2017 congressional testimony that he thought he should" listen to what Rob and his colleagues had to say.'' Depending on what, if any, information was provided, Trump Jr. stated he could then" consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it any further consideration.'' After the June 9 meeting concluded, Goldstone apologized to Trump Jr.. According to Goldstone, he told Trump Jr.[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY] and told Emin Agalarov in a phone call that the meeting was about adoption[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY].[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY]. Aras Agalarov asked Kaveladze to report in after the meeting, but before Kaveladze could call, Aras Agalarov called him. With Veselnitskaya next to him, Kaveladze reported that the meeting had gone well, but he later told Aras Agalarov that the meeting about the Magnitsky Act had been a waste of time because it was not with lawyers and they were" preaching to the wrong crowd.''
c. Post-June 9 Events
Veselnitskaya and Aras Agalarov made at least two unsuccessful attempts after the election to meet with Trump representatives to convey similar information about Browder and the Magnitsky Act. On November 23, 2016, Kaveladze emailed Goldstone about setting up another meeting" with T people'' and sent a document bearing allegations similar to those conveyed on June 9. Kaveladze followed up with Goldstone, stating that" Mr. A,'' which Goldstone understood to mean Aras Agalarov, called to ask about the meeting. Goldstone emailed the document to Rhona Graff, saying that" Aras Agalarov has asked me to pass on this document in the hope it can be passed on to the appropriate team. If needed, a lawyer representing the case is in New York currently and happy to meet with any member of his transition team.'' According to Goldstone, around January 2017, Kaveladze contacted him again to set up another meeting, but Goldstone did not make the request. The investigation did not identify evidence of the transition team following up.
Participants in the June 9, 2016 meeting began rece1vmg inqumes from attorneys representing the Trump Organization starting in approximately June 2017. On approximately June 2, 2017, Goldstone spoke with Alan Garten, general counsel of the Trump Organization, about his participation in the June 9 meeting. The same day, Goldstone emailed Veselnitskaya 's name to Garten, identifying her as the" woman who was the attorney who spoke at the meeting from Moscow." Later in June 2017, Goldstone participated in a lengthier call with Garten and Alan Futerfas, outside counsel for the Trump Organization( and, subsequently, personal counsel for Trump Jr.). On June 27, 2017, Goldstone emailed Emin Agalarov with the subject" Trump attorneys'' and stated that he was" interviewed by attorneys'' about the June 9 meeting who were" concerned because it links Don Jr. to officials from Russia-which he has always denied meeting.'' Goldstone stressed that he" did say at the time this was an awful idea and a terrible meeting.'' Emin Agalarov sent a screenshot of the message to Kaveladze.
The June 9 meeting became public in July 2017. In a July 9, 2017 text message to Emin Agalarov, Goldstone wrote" I made sure I kept you and your father out of[ t] his story,'' and''[ i] f contacted I can do a dance and keep you out of it.'' Goldstone added," FBI now investigating,'' and" I hope this favor was worth for your dad-it could blow up.'' On July 12, 2017 Emin Agalarov complained to Kaveladze that his father, Aras," never listens'' to him and that their relationship with" mr T has been thrown down the drain.'' The next month, Goldstone to Emin Agalarov about the volume of publicity the June 9 meeting had generated, stating that his" reputation[ was] basically destroyed by this dumb meeting which your father insisted on even though Ike and Me told him would be bad news and not to do.'' Goldstone added," I am not able to respond out of courtesy to you and your father. So am painted as some mysterious link to Putin.''
After public reporting on the June 9 meeting began, representatives from the Trump Organization again reached out to participants. On July 10, 2017, Futerfas sent Goldstone an email with a proposed statement for Goldstone to issue, which read:
As the person who arranged the meeting, I can definitively state that th ~ statements I have read by Donald Trump Jr. are 100 % accurate. The meeting was a complete waste of time and Don was never told Ms. Veselnitskaya ' s name prior to the meeting. Ms. Veselnitskaya mostly talked about the Magnitsky Act and Russian adoption laws and the meeting lasted 20 to 30 minutes at most. There was never any follow up and nothing ever came of the meeting.[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY] the statement drafted by Trump Organization representatives was[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY]. He proposed a different statement, asserting that he had been asked` by[ his] client in Moscow Emin Agalarov- to facilitate a meeting between a Russian attorney( Natalia Veselnitzkaya[ sic]) and Donald Trump Jr.. The lawyer had apparently stated that she had some information regarding funding to the DNC from Russia, which she believed Mr. Trump Jr. might find interesting.'' Goldstone never released either statement.
On the Russian end, there were also communications about what participants should say about the June 9 meeting. Specifically, the organization that hired Samochornov- an antiMagnitsky Act group controlled by Veselnitskaya and the owner of Prevezon-offered to pay$ 90,000 of Samochornov ' s legal fees. 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. Samochornov declined, telling the Office that he did not want to perjure himself. The individual who conveyed Veselnitskaya 's request to Samochornov stated that he did not expressly condition payment on following Veselnitskaya ' s answers but, in hindsight, recognized that by sending the transcript, Samochornov could have interpreted the offer of assistance to be conditioned on his not contradicting Veselnitskaya 's account.
Volume II, Section 11. G, infra, discusses interactions between President Trump, Trump Jr., and others in June and July 2017 regarding the June 9 meeting.