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Amica Nostra

Trump campaign officials tried to swap access to Trump for favors from Russia at least 3 times

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  • A Russian lawyer said Donald Trump Jr. told her that once elected, Donald Trump would review a US law sanctioning Russians in exchange for dirt on Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
  • It was the second of at least three times that a Trump campaign official alluded to swapping access to Trump for favors from Russia.
  • The pattern is likely to be of interest to Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to undermine Clinton before the election.

The Russian lawyer who met with President Donald Trump's son, son-in-law, and campaign chairman at Trump Tower in June 2016 says Donald Trump Jr. offered to review a US law sanctioning Russians if his father was elected president in exchange for dirt on his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

"Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it," Trump Jr. said, according to the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Trump Jr. was referring to the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which Veselnitskaya has been lobbying against along with the Russian-American political operative Rinat Akhmetshin since at least last year.

The law was passed to punish those suspected of involvement in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax lawyer who uncovered a $230 million tax-fraud scheme in 2008 that implicated high-level Kremlin officials and allies of President Vladimir Putin.

Veselnitskaya said Trump Jr. added, "I understand our side may have messed up, but it'll take a long time to get to the bottom of it."

Veselnitskaya made the remarks in an interview with Bloomberg, weeks after reports surfaced that she may have been acting as an agent of the Kremlin at the meeting.

A memo she brought with her to the meeting contained many of the same talking points as one written by the Russian prosecutor's office two months earlier. But Veselnitskaya has insisted that she did not provide the campaign the dirt it was expecting.

Still, that Trump Jr. may have signaled a willingness to exchange a major policy shift for help winning the election from a Kremlin-connected lawyer is likely to be of interest to Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to undermine Clinton before the election.

'Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite sometime'

That meeting was not the first time someone on the Trump campaign had expressed interest in exchanging access to the president for a favor from Russia.





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