In June 2016, Paul Manafort was Donald Trump's campaign chairman, and one would think that he was so busy juggling all of his duties that if he agreed to take a meeting, he'd know exactly who would be walking through the door. His version of the events leading up to a meeting last year with a Kremlin-linked attorney, relayed by a friend, shows otherwise.
Over the weekend, when The New York Times first reported on Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr. told the paper that while he invited Manafort and Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, to the meeting, he did not tell them what it was going to be about. The Times revealed on Monday that Trump Jr. was promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton, courtesy of the Russian government in an attempt to aid his father's candidacy, and on Tuesday, Trump Jr. shared his email exchanges with the publicist who brokered the meeting. Those documents showed that on June 8, the day before the meeting with Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr. forwarded to both Manafort and Kushner an email with the subject "FW: Russia - Clinton - private and confidential," alerting them to the fact the meeting had been moved to a new time.
Manafort has an explanation for this discrepancy, a person close to him told Politico Tuesday — you see, Manafort read these emails on his phone, and didn't make it all the way to the bottom, thus he walked blindly into the meeting, having no idea who was going to greet him. Apparently, he also ignored the subject line. It's unclear if Kushner also doesn't believe in doing due diligence before meetings, as his attorney did not respond to Politico's request for comment.