Following reports that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has fired back, accusing Democratic operatives of arranging the meeting.
The meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, which only came to light on Saturday after The New York Times published a report on its existence, was supposedly arranged to acquire “damaging information” on Hillary Clinton. Also in attendance were Presidential son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman, Paul J. Manafort.
Priebus claimed that the person who set up the meeting was associated with Fusion GPS, a strategy firm in D.C. that was initially funded by Trump’s Republican rivals during the primary to conduct opposition research. He alleged that the Democratic Party now backs the firm and that “there are more questions on the Democrat side than anywhere else.”
Priebus also claims that the meeting as a very short one, lasting no more 20 minutes. However, he brushed off requests for more information.
Trump Jr. did admit to meeting Veselnitskaya when he was told she might have a tip about the Clinton campaign. He claimed that she offered nothing of value. In an earlier statement, however, he said that the meeting was primarily about the adoption of Russian children and “mentioned nothing about Mrs Clinton.”
Although there have been numerous allegations of secret meetings and collisions with Russians throughout the Trump campaign, the meeting with Veselnitskaya is the first one ever to be confirmed. Both Manafort and Kushner are already facing FBI scrutiny on their Russian ties, and this latest bombshell could drag Trump Jr. into the investigation.s