As I posted on Thursday, one of the things the Mueller report did was effectively debunk the entire story of the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between several members of President Trump’s inner circle and a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. This is the summary from the Mueller report:
On June 9, 2016, senior representatives of the Trump Campaign met in Trump Tower with a Russian attorney expecting to receive derogatory information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. The meeting was proposed to Donald Trump Jr. in an email from Robert Goldstone, at the request of his then?client Emin Agalarov, the son of Russian real-estate developer Aras Agalarov. Goldstone relayed to Trump Jr. that the “Crown prosecutor of Russia . . . offered to provide the Trump Campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia” as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. immediately responded that “if it’s what you say I love it,” and arranged the meeting through a series of emails and telephone calls.
Trump Jr. invited campaign chairman Paul Manafort and senior adviser Jared Kushner to attend the meeting, and both attended. Members of the Campaign discussed the meeting before it occurred, and Michael Cohen recalled that Trump Jr. may have told candidate Trump about an upcoming meeting to receive adverse information about Clinton, without linking the meeting to Russia. According to written answers submitted by President Trump, he has no recollection of learning of the meeting at the time, and the Office found no documentary evidence showing that he was made aware of the meeting?or its Russian connection?before it occurred.
The Russian attorney who spoke at the meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had previously worked for the Russian government and maintained a relationship with that government throughout this period of time. She claimed that funds derived from illegal activities in Russia were provided to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats. Trump Jr. requested evidence to support those claims, but Veselnitskaya did not provide such information. She and her associates then turned to a critique of the origins of the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 statute that imposed financial and travel sanctions on Russian officials and that resulted in a retaliatory ban on adoptions of Russian children. Trump Jr. suggested that the issue could be revisited when and if candidate Trump was elected. After the election, Veselnitskaya made additional efforts to follow up on the meeting, but the Trump Transition Team did not engage.
The worst that Mueller could come up with about this meeting was that had Veselnitskaya produced the information there was a tenuous campaign finance violation if the information were not declared as an in-kind gift to the campaign (see page 185 of Volume I of Mueller’s report).
For all of that, the 800-lb gorilla in the room is what Mueller doesn’t report.
1. He doesn’t report that Natalia Veselnitskaya was a stringer for Fusion GPS in its efforts to have Magnitsky Act sanctions lifted on Oleg Deripaska.
2. He doesn’t report that Rinat Akhmetshin held a similar relationship with Fusion GPS. See SHOCKER. You Won’t Believe Who Employed The “Former Soviet Counterintelligence Official” In Trump Meeting.
3. He doesn’t report that Veselnitskaya was banned from entering the United States during the time of the meeting but for some reason the Obama State Department gave her a waiver. See Senator Charles Grassley Has A Huge Question About Donald Trump Jr.’S Meet-Up With The Russian Lawyer [UPDATED] (VIDEO).
4. He doesn’t mention that Veselnitskaya met with Fusion GPS honcho Glenn Simpson before and after the Trump Tower meeting. See And Who Exactly Did That Kremlin Lawyer Meet With Before And After The Famous Trump Tower Meeting?
5. Mueller does a lot of hand-waving about Veselnistkaya working on behalf of a Russian businessman named Peter Katsyv and Prevezon Holdings and ignores her lobbying on behalf of Oleg Deripaska, a Fusion GPS client and an FBI asset during the time Mueller was FBI director. See There Might Be A Very Good Reason Why Mueller Is Not Indicting Paul Manafort’s Russian Business Partner.
This omission of seemingly relevant background details in not unique. There are other instances in the report where connections between persons who are insinuated to be working in behalf of the Russian government also had links to the FBI.
The report paints a picture of an investigation that is more intent upon reinforcing the narrative of Russian ties to the Trump campaign by innuendo than one that is trying to get at the truth behind the allegations that started the investigation. Say, yes, but also to be expected because there is no way Mueller and his team were going to dig into anything that didn’t make Trump look bad.