Who Was At Trump Jr's Russia Meeting? The List of Known Attendees Is Getting Bigger
It was revealed over the weekend that during the presidential campaign, Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian attorney in order to receive incriminating information about Hillary Clinton. More details about the substance of the meeting have been reported since then, and yet the question of exactly who was at Trump Jr's Russia meeting still only has a partial answer.
The New York Times broke the story, and it was later confirmed by Trump Jr himself, who tweeted out the email exchange that led to the meeting. The Times initially identified four people who were reportedly at the meeting: Trump Jr., Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, Trump Jr.'s brother-in-law. The next day, the Times wrote that publicist Rob Goldstone, who brokered the meeting, was also there.
On Friday, the Associated Press added another name to the list: Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist who served in a counterintelligence unit in the Soviet military. Akhmetshin himself later confirmed that he was indeed at the meeting. The same day, the Times' Ken Vogel reported that a translator named Anatoli Samochornov was also at the meeting. Vogel said that Akhmetshin himself revealed this — although Samochornov wouldn't confirm or deny his attendance, telling BuzzFeed that he couldn't do so due to nondisclosure agreements.
U.S. officials are now examining what role Akhmetshin may have played in the Trump Jr. meeting. https://t.co/HM6aY3wTI9— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 14, 2017
Finally, sources told CNN on Friday that there were at least eight people in the room at the meeting, including "a representative of the Russian family who had asked Goldstone to set up the meeting." However, CNN didn't identify this person.
So, who was actually there? It's impossible to say with certainty. Although some of the attendees have confirmed their presence (Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya, for instance), most of those who were reported to have been there have been mum on the issue. Some cases are even fuzzier: Manafort has not publicly addressed the reports, but a source "close to Manafort" told POLITICO that he was indeed there.
It's also unclear who CNN was referring to when it mentioned an attendee who was "a representative of the Russian family" who'd helped arrange the meeting. It's possible that this was a reference to either Emin Agalarov or his father Amas, two powerful Russians referenced by Goldstone in the email chain. Donald Trump worked with the Agalarovs during the 2013 Miss Universe pagaent in Moscow. However, this is mere speculation and hasn't been reported anywhere.
The truth is that we simply don't know for certain who was at that meeting. Given how rapidly this whole story has been breaking, however, it's possible that this question will be answered sooner, rather than later.