Eighth person in Trump Jr. meeting ID’d as Russian real estate employee
An eighth person present at a 2016 meeting between Donald Trump, Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer has been identified as an American-based representative of a Russian real estate firm, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing the firm’s lawyer.
Ike Kaveladze is reportedly an employee of Russian pop star Emin Agalarov and his father Aras Agalarov, a Russian developer who hosted President Trump’s Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.
The Agalarovs’ lawyer, Scott Balber, said that Kaveladze attended the meeting at Trump Tower on behalf of Aras Agalarov, believing he would act as translator.
But when he arrived at the meeting, Kaveladze found that the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had brought her own translator.
Balber told the Post on Tuesday that he has received a call from a representative of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team asking him to identify the Agalarov representative, who had been previously reported as a participant but not named.
The request is the first public indication that Mueller’s team is investigating the June 2016 meeting.
Balber told the Post that with Kaveladze he believes the list of meeting attendees known to the public is now complete.
The eight identified attendees include Trump Jr.; Veselnitskaya and her translator, Anatoli Samochornov; Kaveladze; Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and now a senior White House adviser; then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort; Rob Goldstone, an intermediary who set up the meeting; and Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist who was working to lift sanctions imposed on Moscow over human rights violations.
In emails released by Trump Jr. last week, Goldstone offered to set up a meeting between the president’s eldest son and a “Russian government lawyer” offering information that “would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”
“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” wrote Goldstone, a music publicist who represents Emin Agalarov.
“If it what’s you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. responded.
Trump Jr. has reportedly said he has had a “casual relationship” with Goldstone after meeting him in 2014 at a Trump golf course in Florida.
The White House has offered a conflicting explanation of the intended purpose of the meeting. Press secretary Sean Spicer has said that there is nothing to show that the meeting was not about U.S. adoptions of Russian children, banned by Moscow in retaliation for the human rights sanctions Akhmetshin lobbied against.
A lawyer for Trump Jr. on Monday said that he was in talks with various congressional committees to testify about the meeting, which has become a flashpoint in the roiling controversy over the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
Democrats say that Trump Jr.’s willingness to accept opposition research portrayed as part of Russia’s support for the president shows a clear intent to collude with the Russian government. The president has fiercely defended his son, insisting that the meeting was mere “politics.”
“Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!” the president tweeted Monday.