How Many People Were At Trump Jr's Russia Meeting? Some Attendees Haven't Been Identified
Over the weekend, Donald Trump Jr. revealed that during the presidential campaign, he met with a Russian lawyer in the hopes of obtaining damaging information about Hillary Clinton, and was told that the lawyer was meeting with him as part of a Kremlin-sponsored effort to help his father's presidential campaign. On Friday, CNN reported that there may have been more people at Trump Jr.'s Russia meeting than was originally believed.
When the New York Times broke the story of the meeting on Saturday, it named four people at the meeting: Trump Jr., former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, Trump Jr.'s brother-in-law Jared Kushner, and the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. A day later, the Times also reported that Rob Goldstone, the publicist who brokered the meeting, was also in attendance. That's five people — so far.
On Friday, the Associated Press revealed the name of another attendee: Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist who once served in a counterintelligence unit in the Russian military (Akhmetshin later confirmed that he was at the meeting). Soon thereafter, multiple news organizations reported that Anatoli Samochornov, a Russian-American translator, was also in the room; Samochornov wouldn't confirm or deny his presence, citing nondisclosure agreements.
If all of that is true, it would bring the total number of attendees to seven. And yet CNN reported on Friday that there were "at least eight people" at the meeting. That leaves at least one attendee unaccounted for.
According to CNN, the meeting included "a translator and a representative of the Russian family who had asked Goldstone to set up the meeting." The translator could conceivably be Samochornov (whose alleged presence at the meeting wasn't reported until after the CNN report), but who's the family representative?
CNN didn't report that information. But in the email thread arranging the meeting (which Trump Jr. tweeted out in its entirety on Sunday), Goldstone referenced Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star, and his father Aras Agalarov, a Russian businessman who worked with Trump on the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. It's conceivable that one of the Agalarovs was at the meeting, although to be clear, that's pure speculation and hasn't been reported, let alone proven.
The details of this meeting have been trickling out slowly, and it wouldn't be a surprise if we learn more about it over the coming days and weeks. But the details we do know are already quite significant: On Friday, Republican columnist and longtime Trump supporter Charles Krauthammer said that the meeting amounted to "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.