Earlier this summer we were all led to believe that the now-infamous meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was undeniable evidence that the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russian government to effectively stage a coup by preemptively blocking Hillary from her rightful throne. But, what if it was all just a setup?
According to a report from Fox News, just hours before Natalia Veselnitskaya sat down with Trump Jr., Paul Manfort and Jared Kushner at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, she was with Fusion GPS co-founder and former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson in a Federal Manhattan courtroom. Adding to the mystery, Fox reports that the pair were together shortly after the Trump Jr. meeting as well.
Of course, this is an intriguing new development because just a couple of months prior to these events, Fusion GPS was paid at least $1 million by Hillary's campaign and the DNC to 'prove' that Trump was working with the Russians. All of which begs the obvious question, was the whole Trump Jr. fiasco nothing more than a failed attempt at political sabotage by the Hillary campaign?
The co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm behind the unverified Trump dossier, met with a Russian lawyer before and after a key meeting she had last year with Trump’s son, Fox News has learned. The contacts shed new light on how closely tied the firm was to Russian interests, at a time when it was financing research to discredit then-candidate Donald Trump.
The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya occurred during a critical period. At that time, Fox News has learned that bank records show Fusion GPS was paid by a law firm for work on behalf of a Kremlin-linked oligarch while paying a former British spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on Trump through his Russian contacts.
But hours before the Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016, Fusion co-founder and ex-Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson was with Veselnitskaya in a Manhattan federal courtroom, a confidential source told Fox News. Court records reviewed by Fox News, email correspondence and published reports corroborate the pair’s presence together. The source told Fox News they also were together after the Trump Tower meeting.
Meanwhile, not only were Simpson and Veselnitskaya together before the Trump Jr. meeting, as it turns out Fusion GPS was hired by BakerHostetler to represent Russian firm Prevezon in an asset forfeiture case, a firm which Veselnitskaya also represented and was the reason that she was in the U.S. in the first place. To summarize, Fusion GPS and Veselnitskaya were effectively co-workers defending a Putin-linked Russian operative on trial in the U.S. for a massive $230 million money laundering fraud.
NBC News first reported that Veselnitskaya and Simpson were both at a hearing centered around another Fusion client, Russian oligarch Denis Katsyv. His company, Prevezon Holdings, was sanctioned against doing business in the U.S. for its alleged role in laundering more than $230 million. Fox News obtained audio records from that hearing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The wrongdoing had been uncovered by Russian lawyer and whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, who was beaten to death in a Russian prison in 2009 after being arrested for probing Prevezon and other companies with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In December 2012, the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act was passed into U.S. law, freezing Russian assets and banning visas for sanctioned individuals. Fusion’s Simpson is believed to have been working with Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet counter-intelligence officer turned Russian-American lobbyist, to overturn the sanctions.
The Senate Judiciary Committee interviewed Simpson for more than 10 hours on August 22nd though a spokesman for the committee refused to comment on whether Simpson confirmed his contact with Veselnitskaya during the closed-door session.
Of course, as we've noted previously (see: Hillary Clinton Lied, Paid For "Trump Dossier"), the DNC and Clinton campaign hired Fusion GPS for over $1 million in April 2016 through lawyer Marc Elias, who was general counsel for the Clinton campaign. Fusion, in turn, paid Steele $168,000 for the dossier, memos from which were shared with the FBI in the summer of 2016.
So what say you? Was it all just an innocent coincidence or political sabotage?