When Donald Trump Jr. took an opposition research meeting in June 2016, he thought he was meeting with a private Russian lawyer who could provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton. As that meeting has become central to investigations of whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Kremlin efforts to disrupt the 2016 election, Trump Jr.'s insistence that the lawyer provided no information and that the meeting amounted to nothing, coupled with the fact that the lawyer has maintained that she has no ties to the Russian government, have been paramount.
But on Friday, Natalia Veselnitskaya blew a hole in that narrative. "I am a lawyer, and I am an informant," Veselnitskaya told NBC News in an interview that will air Friday, per The New York Times. Specifically, Veselnitskaya said she has been "actively communicating" with the office of Yuri Chaika, the Russian prosecutor general and a top Kremlin official, since 2013.
The disclosure throws new scrutiny on that June 2016 meeting, the Times explains:
The previously undisclosed details about Ms. Veselnitskaya rekindle questions about who she was representing when she met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and others at Trump Tower in Manhattan during the campaign. The meeting, one focus of the special counsel investigation into Russia's election interference, was organized after an intermediary promised that Ms. Veselnitskaya would deliver documents that would incriminate Mrs. Clinton.
Ms. Veselnitskaya had long insisted that she met the president's son, son-in-law, and campaign chairman in a private capacity, not as a representative of the Russian government. [The New York Times]
The Times additionally viewed emails exchanged between Veselnitsyaka and Chaika's office that "appeared to show that her relationship with Mr. Chaika's office is far closer than she has described." Chaika's office did not respond to a request for comment from the Times, while Veselnitskaya said she would respond in two weeks. Read more at The New York Times.