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Donald Trump Jr. and other key figures involved in an infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russian figures during the heat of the 2016 presidential campaign largely downplayed its significance and said Hillary Clinton was hardly discussed despite past speculation, in newly released transcripts from Senate Judiciary Committee interviews.

The committee released more than 1,800 pages of transcripts Wednesday from interviews with numerous figures involved in the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. The controversial meeting, when it was revealed, fueled allegations of Trump campaign coordination with Russia – as Trump Jr. was apparently promised dirt on Clinton’s supposed involvement with Russia.

But Trump Jr. said he was “skeptical” going into the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

“In his e-mail to me, Rob [Goldstone] suggested that someone had official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary Clinton and her dealings with Russia and that the information would be very useful to the campaign,” Trump Jr. said, noting he was “skeptical of his outreach” as he only knew Goldstone as a “colorful music promoter.”

Rob Goldstone, who was a music promoter, arranged the meeting at the request of pop singer Emin Agalarov, and later said he thought the meeting was a “bad idea.”

“My skepticism was justified. The meeting provided no meaningful information and turned out to be not about what was represented,” Trump Jr. said. “The meeting was instead primarily focused on Russian adoptions, which is exactly what I said over a year later in my statement of July 8, 2017.”

In a written response, Veselnitskaya said no information specific to Clinton was provided in the meeting. She also lamented the “kind of apocalyptic Hollywood scenario what a private conversation between a lawyer and a businessman can be turned into.”

Trump Jr. testified that he had “no way to gauge” the “reliability, credibility, or accuracy” of anything Goldstone promised.

“I love it,” Trump Jr. had written back to Goldstone at the time. But he testified that it was “simply a colloquial way of saying that I appreciated Rob’s gesture.”

Trump Jr. testified that if he was given information on Clinton, he would have then consulted with counsel to “make an informed decision as to whether to give it any further consideration.”

“I also note at this time there was no focus on Russian activities that there is today,” Trump Jr. said. Trump Jr. also noted that he was not aware of who would be in the meeting.

Trump said that Veselnitskaya did not provide any information on Clinton beyond “very generally something about individuals connected to Russia supporting or funding Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton or the Democratic National Committee.”

When asked how the meeting ended, Trump Jr. testified that “we went our separate ways and Rob Goldstone came up to me and apologized.”

“Essentially he apologized for what he believed was wasting our time,” Trump Jr. said.

Trump Jr. was also asked whether he believed Goldstone “duped” him into a meeting under “false pretenses” to “grab” his attention.

“I imagine there was an element of showmanship involved, yes,” Trump Jr. replied.

In addition to Trump Jr., the committee interviewed four other people who attended the Trump Tower meeting in New York — publicist Goldstone, who set up the meeting with the promise of dirt on Clinton; Rinat Akhmetshin, a prominent Russian-American lobbyist; Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer, and a translator.

The panel was also not able to interview Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, or Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, even though both attended the Trump Tower meeting. But the committee released a short page of notes Manafort took on his phone during the meeting.

The White House has said the president was involved in drafting an initial statement after news of the meeting broke last year. The statement said the meeting primarily concerned a Russian adoption program, though Trump Jr. later released the emails showing he agreed to the sit-down after he was promised information on Clinton. The emails also show he accepted the meeting despite it being described as part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s campaign.

Asked in the interview if his father was involved in drafting the statement, Trump said: “I don’t know. I never spoke to my father about it.”

Trump Jr. also stressed that he did not tell his father about the meeting, saying “I wouldn’t have wasted his time with it.”

Trump Jr. also told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he couldn’t remember whether he had discussed the Russia investigation as a whole with his father, according to transcripts. He also said he didn’t think there was anything wrong with attending the Trump Tower meeting.

Like Trump Jr. and Kushner, who released a public statement about the meeting last year, Goldstone said the meeting was disappointing. He said he reported back to Emin Agalarov that “this was the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever asked me to do. I’ve just sat in a meeting about adoption.”

The meeting is under scrutiny in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

The testimony of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson was also made public Wednesday — for a second time.

His testimony was first released, unilaterally, by Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in January.

Simpson’s firm was behind the composition of the Trump dossier, filled with salacious, and unverified, allegations against the president regarding matters related to Russia.

Despite Fox News’ past reporting that Simpson was with Veselnitskaya before and after the Trump Tower meeting, Simpson said in testimony that he wasn’t aware of the meeting beforehand, and was “stunned” to later learn about it.

Trump Jr. testified that at the time of the Trump Tower meeting, he “had never heard of Glenn Simpson or Fusion GPS.”

“Americans rightly have many questions about this meeting, and today, we are releasing the transcripts and exhibits from interviews we’ve conducted to allow the public to know what we know,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement. “These materials, taken in their entirety, provide the most complete public picture of the events surrounding the meeting to date. Americans can now review this unfiltered information and arrive at their own conclusions.”

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. smrstrauss

    May 17, 2018 at 1:58 am

    Sure, they discussed the adoption of Russian children. Sure they did. Sure. Sure—–would you like to buy a bridge?

  2. Jesse

    May 17, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    It amazes me that Democrats want to investigate an open meeting where Republicans tricked into attending under false pretense by lobiest, and try to turn adoption of orphans into a scandal. Then on the other hand the Clinton’s and DNC hire Russian spies and KGB to conduct Colbert activities for them to help win an election. They also have numerous secret meetings and exchange of money for information and the Democrats don’t think that’s illegal or should be investigated/prosecuted. Same old story. Democrats think they are entitle to a different set of rules & laws.

  3. Wes

    May 17, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    This is old news. We’ve already accepted the fact that Russia tried to influence our 2016 presidential election. However, and more to the point Trump wasn’t involved in any collusion and the evidence doesn’t even suggest it. So, let’s move on!

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Nikki Haley Breaks with Trump: ‘We Shouldn’t Have Followed Him, and We Shouldn’t Have Listened to Him’

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Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, believes that former President Donald Trump “let us down.”

Haley’s remarks come as the former president’s legal team prepares to present its defense of Trump during his second impeachment trial in the Senate.

In a Politico interview published Friday, Haley, former South Carolina governor, said that “we shouldn’t have followed” Trump.

“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” she said in an extensive profile. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”

She also told the outlet that she has not spoken to Trump since the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, and takes issue with his remarks condemning former Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to reject the Electoral College vote.

“When I tell you I’m angry, it’s an understatement,” she expressed. “I am so disappointed in the fact that [despite] the loyalty and friendship he had with Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I’m disgusted by it.”

The former ambassador, who many people are speculating may run for the White House in 2024, also added that Trump will never accept the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“There’s nothing that you’re ever going to do that’s going to make him feel like he legitimately lost the election,” she explained. “He’s got a big bully pulpit. He should be responsible with it.”

Haley also warned that many people still love the former president and will not stop supporting him just because he is out of office.

“I know how much people love Donald Trump,” she admitted. “I know it. I feel it. Whether it’s an RNC room or social media or talking to donors, I can tell you that the love they have for him is still very strong. That’s not going to just fall to the wayside. Nor do I think the Republican Party is going to go back to the way it was before Donald Trump. I don’t think it should.”

Haley added that people, instead, should “take the good that he built, leave the bad that he did, and get back to a place where we can be a good, valuable, effective party.”

“[I]t’s bigger than the party,” she insisted. “I hope our country can come together and figure out how we pull this back.”

Referring to Haley’s possible 2024 ambitions, Politico’s Tim Alberta wrote, “Since last fall, I’ve spent nearly six hours talking with Haley on-the-record. I’ve also spoken with nearly 70 people who know her: friends, associates, donors, staffers, former colleagues. From those conversations, two things are clear. First, Nikki Haley is going to run for president in 2024. Second, she doesn’t know which Nikki Haley will be on the ballot.”

Haley also said that she didn’t believe Trump had a chance of winning in a 2024 election scenario.

“I don’t think he can,” she admitted. “He’s fallen so far.”

“I think his business is suffering at this point,” she added. “I think he’s lost any sort of political viability he was going to have. I think he’s lost his social media, which meant the world to him. I mean, I think he’s lost the things that really could have kept him moving.”

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WATCH: Trump’s Defense Team Absolutely Ruins Democrats With 13 Minute Montage of “Fight” Word Like Trump Did

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The Democrats demonized President Trump for using the word ‘fight’. Trump’s attorneys responded today with a collage of clips from each of the Democrats in the room using the word ‘fight’.

This portion of today’s events on Capitol Hill was excellent. The Democrats claim that because President Trump used the word ‘fight’ in his speech on January 6th in Washington D.C. However, what every Democrat in that room forgot was that they too had used the word previously in political speech.

The montage went on for 13 minutes. (The video montage starts at 7:10 timeframe.)

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WATCH: Trump Attorneys Destroy House Managers on Lying to American Public and Using Manipulated Tweet as Evidence

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President Trump’s defense team took the floor of the US Senate on Friday in defense of President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.

Trump Attorney David Schoen absolutely destroyed the House Managers when he took to the floor of the US Senate.

At one point Schoen played video of the Democrat lawmakers lying about a Trump tweet.

House Impeachment Manager Eric Swalwell gave a riveting performance on Wednesday reading off Trump’s tweets with emotional appeal.

During this theatrical performance, Swalwell read off a Trump retweet by Jennifer Lynn Lawrence.

But there was one problem with the tweet. It was photoshopped.

Jennifer Lynn Lawrence has never been verified by Twitter. Democrats faked that to make it look more important.

On Friday Trump Attorney David Schoen destroyed Democrats for lying about this to the American public.

WATCH:

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White House Suspends Deputy Press Secretary For Allegedly Sexually Harassing, Threatening Reporter

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The White House announced on Friday that it was suspending Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo after a report surfaced alleging that he sexually harassed and threatened a female reporter who was getting ready to publish a report revealing that he was dating a reporter who had previously been tasked with covering Democrat Joe Biden.

“The confrontation began on Inauguration Day, January 20, after [Politico reporter Tara] Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted [Axios political reporter Alexi] McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo,” Vanity Fair reported. “Ducklo subsequently called a Playbook editor to object to the story, but was told to call the Playbook reporters with his concerns. But instead of calling the male reporter who initially contacted him, Ducklo tried to intimidate Palmeri by phone in an effort to kill the story. ‘I will destroy you,’ Ducklo told her, according to the sources, adding that he would ruin her reputation if she published it.”

“During the off-the-record call, Ducklo made derogatory and misogynistic comments, accusing Palmeri of only reporting on his relationship—which, due to the ethics questions that factor into the relationship between a journalist and White House official, falls under the purview of her reporting beat—because she was ‘jealous’ that an unidentified man in the past had ‘wanted to f***’ McCammond ‘and not you,’” the report added. “Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being ‘jealous’ of his relationship with McCammond.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said following the report that Ducklo has been suspended for a week over the incident.

“TJ Ducklo has apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life,” Psaki wrote on Twitter. “He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President.”

“In addition to his initial apology, he has sent the reporter a personal note expressing his profound regret,” she continued. “With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been placed on a one-week suspension without pay. In addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.”

Reporters called out the administration over the incident, highlighting how the Trump administration did not treat reporters that way as well as issues with the timeline of events with regard to the White House taking action to address the incident.

“The Vanity Fair piece indicates that Politico editors reached to the WH after the incident first occurred and the WH acknowledged it was inappropriate,” Spectator editor Amber Athey wrote on Twitter. “But they clearly didn’t have any interest in disciplining Ducklo until his behavior was made public.”

New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi wrote on Twitter: “I covered Donald Trump for 6 years. It is saying something that this behavior — from a Biden official — shocks me.”

Grabien founder Tom Elliott highlighted the following remarks that Biden made a few weeks ago: “If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot, on the spot. No if, ands, or buts. Everybody — everybody is entitled to be treated with decency & dignity.”

CNN anchor Jake Tapper responded to the quote, writing: “Standards that are not upheld are not standards. They’re lies.”

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