As special counsel Robert Mueller continues his investigation into the President Trump administration’s ties with Russia, another member of the family has gotten involved. This time, it’s one of the president’s daughters. According to a Los Angeles Times report, Mueller is investigating an interaction between Ivanka Trump and a lawyer with ties to the Kremlin.
The lawyer in question, Natalia Veselnitskaya, first made headlines back in July 2017, after leaked emails showed that in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr. had arranged a meeting with her after she promised him dirt on Hillary Clinton. While Trump Jr. has maintained that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss adoption, the emails indicate that the focus was clearly the Democratic presidential candidate. Should Mueller's team prove that Trump's team actively misled the public about the nature of the meeting, he could be closer to proving that the campaign colluded with Russia.
Although then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner joined Donald Jr. for the meeting, the president’s son said that nothing ultimately came of it.
Now, investigators are looking into an interaction between Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and Veselnitskaya, according to The Los Angeles Times. While Ivanka did not attend the meeting, she did reportedly speak briefly with Veselnitskaya and lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, both of whom were at the meeting.
The first daughter's ties to Russia have not been as closely scrutinized as her adult siblings'. In November 2017, Reuters published a report that linked Ivanka to Alexandre Ventura Nogueira, a broker who had ties to members of the "Russian mafia." Earlier that month, The Washington Post reported on Trump's longstanding ties to Russia, beginning with his business interests there dating back to 1986.
While the president has regularly dismissed reports of collusion with Russia as a "hoax," and seems in denial that the investigation is still ongoing, Ivanka has stayed relatively quiet throughout the process. Although a source told the LA Times that Ivanka only exchanged pleasantries with Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin, Mueller appears to be thoroughly investigating details of every meeting between a Trump family member and Russian officials.
Excerpts from Michael Wolff's new book, Fire and Fury, indicate that not everyone in the administration approved of the meeting arranged by Trump Jr. — Bannon reportedly called the decision "treasonous" and "unpatriotic," and said he believed the Trump Jr. took the Kremlin-linked lawyer and lobbyist to meet with his father after the meeting. Soon after reports of Bannon's comments surfaced, the president said that the former White House chief of staff had "lost his mind."
As a vital member of her family's organization, there is little doubt that Ivanka has had some dealings with Russia over the years. As the November Washington Post report noted, for example, Ivanka's father partnered with Russian businessman Aras Agalarov to host the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013 (Agalarov's son, Emin, later arranged the 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and Natalia Veselnitskaya). Shortly after, Ivanka visited Moscow and took a tour of Crocus City Hall. Democratic Coalition co-founder Scott Dworkin has tweeted multiple photos of Ivanka and the rest of the Trumps on trips to Russia over the years.
Ivanka's husband Jared Kushner has also had his fair share of contacts with Russia since becoming involved in the Trump campaign. In March, an investigation by The New Yorker revealed that Kushner had met with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey I. Kislyak to establish "a more open line of communication in the future."
While Ivanka has been less implicated in the Russia probe thus far, there's still time for Mueller's investigation to reveal more details about the first daughter's connection with Kremlin officials.