Lawyer from Trump Tower meeting had closer ties to Russia than originally believed: report


Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with , Jr., and at Trump Tower in 2016 to discuss possible compromising information on , appears to have greater ties to the Russian government than she previously admitted.

The New York Times reports that Veselnitskaya in at least one instance worked for Russia’s chief legal office against the U.S. Justice Department in a fraud case targeting a top Russian firm with connections to the government.

And in an interview broadcast Friday on NBC News, Veselnitskaya calls herself an “informant” for the Russian government, an admission that goes further than her previous claim of being a private attorney.

“I am a lawyer, and I am an informant,” she said in the interview. “Since 2013, I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general.”

Today’s admission also comes despite testimony she submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee in November, in which she claimed no connection to Vladimir Putin’s government.

“I operate independently of any governmental bodies,” she wrote November. “I have no relationship with Mr. Chaika, his representatives and his institutions other than those related to my professional functions as a lawyer.”

“Mr. Chaika” refers to Yuri Chaika, Russia’s prosecutor general, for whom on Friday Veselnitskaya admitted to being a regular source of information.

Friday’s news raises new questions about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting attended by Trump Jr., and top campaign officials, and whether that meeting had connections to Russia’s government that were previously unknown.

It was previously reported that Rob Goldstone, a British music producer who set up the meeting between Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya, told Trump Jr. that the information she could provide was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. replied to Goldstone in one email.