Just when you thought the Don Jr. story was starting to fizzle, due to revelations which would suggest that nothing of substance was discussed in his meeting with the now infamous Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, NBC News has just dropped a new "bombshell" detail that the heretofore unknown, and quite 'mysterious', third-party that attended that meeting with Veselnitskaya was none other than a Soviet-born counter intelligence officer.
Of course, once you get past the salacious headline, the story may not be as much of a "bombshell" as NBC would undoubtedly like it to be. It seems this "former Soviet counter intelligence officer", a man that NBC refuses to identify for some reason, emigrated to the U.S. some time ago, is an American lobbyist and holds dual citizenship in the United States.
The Russian lawyer who met with the Trump team after a promise of compromising material on Hillary Clinton was accompanied by a Russian-American lobbyist — a former Soviet counter intelligence officer who is suspected by some U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, NBC News has learned.
NBC News is not naming the lobbyist, who denies any current ties to Russian spy agencies. He accompanied the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.
The Russian-born American lobbyist served in the Soviet military and emigrated to the U.S., where he holds dual citizenship.
Ironically, and we're just spitballing here so don't hold us to it, maybe, just maybe, bringing a 'lobbyist' to a meeting in which your intent is to 'lobby' for the overturn of the Magnitsky Act might just be something that makes sense rather than being part of a larger plot to rig an entire American presidential election.
Meanwhile, as Natasha Bertrand of Business Insider notes, the identity of this 'mysterious' 6th person was actually revealed last week by the New York Times as Rinat Akhmetshin. And, guess what? He was part of a lobbying team put together by Veselnitskaya to overturn the Magnitsky Act and was actually the person who organized the showing of that anti-Magnitsky Act film at the Newseum, which Veselnitskaya attended, 4 days after the infamous Don Jr. meeting.
Ah ha. NYT described Akhmetshin last week as part of a lobbying team put together by Veselnitskaya & Katsyv to overturn Magnitsky. pic.twitter.com/e2btaEfIG2— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) July 14, 2017
Contacted about the meeting, Don Jr.'s attorney simply stated that the man was a "friend of Emin [Agalarov]’s and maybe as a friend of Natalia [Veselnitskaya]’s."
Contacted by NBC News, representatives for Kushner and Manafort declined to comment.
Alan Futerfas, the attorney retained by Donald Trump Jr., confirmed he has spoken to the individual.
"It’s very simple,” Futerfas said. "The person was described as a friend of Emin [Agalarov]’s and maybe as a friend of Natalia [Veselnitskaya]’s.”
Futerfas said he has talked with that individual who came to the meeting with Veselnitskaya. "He is a U.S. citizen. He told me specifically he was not working for the Russian government, and in fact laughed when I asked him that question.”
Futerfas confirmed that, “for the purpose of security or otherwise, the names were reviewed” but said Trump Jr. knew nothing about the man's background at the time of the meeting.
When asked about whether he had concerns, knowing what he knows now, Futerfas responded: “I have absolutely no concerns about what was said in that meeting.”
So what say you? Elaborate plot to coordinate with Russian operatives which resulted in the first successful American coup in history or a useless meeting that has become a convenient tool in advancing the media's Russian narrative?