Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner in a 2016 Trump Tower meeting on the premise that she would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton, said she was an “informant” for the Russian government.
Newly released emails obtained by The New York Times show that Veselnitskaya worked in at least one instance for Russia’s chief legal office against the U.S. Justice Department in a civil fraud case targeting a top Russian firm with government connections.
During an interview to be broadcast Friday by NBC News, Veselnitskaya calls herself an “informant” for the Russian government, an admission that goes further than her previous claims of just being a private lawyer.
“I am a lawyer, and I am an informant,” she said. “Since 2013, I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general.”
The new admission also comes despite testimony she submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee in November, in which she claimed no connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government.
“I operate independently of any governmental bodies,” she wrote in November. “I have no relationship with Mr. Chaika, his representatives and his institutions other than those related to my professional functions as a lawyer.”
The Hill notes:
Veselnitskaya was referring to Yuri Chaika, Russia’s prosecutor general, for whom on Friday she admitted to being a regular source of information. Friday’s reports raises new questions about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting attended by Trump Jr., Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and now senior adviser, and whether that meeting had connections to Russia’s government that were previously unknown.
It was previously reported that Rob Goldstone, a British music producer who set up the meeting between Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya, told Trump Jr. that the information the lawyer could provide was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. replied to Goldstone in one email.