President Donald Trump weighed over Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya's involvement in a Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 with members of the Trump campaign and revelations that she is an "informant" for the Kremlin.
With this, the president could have publicly referred for the first time to a connection between Veselnitskaya and the Russian government.
Trump, who spoke at a free-wheel rally in Michigan on Saturday night, began by announcing how hard his government had been in Russia.
"Did you actually hear from the lawyer?" he said, referring to Veselnitskaya. "For a year – a lawyer – she said," Oh, I do not know. "Now she's suddenly involved in the government [Russian]."
Veselnitskaya is said to have participated in the Trump Tower meeting as a representative of Yuri Chaika, Russia's Attorney General, closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Veselnitskaya initially tried to distance himself from Chaika and told the Senate Judiciary Committee in November that she was working exclusively as a private attorney and that her ties to the Russian government and Chaika were merely professional.
But she disagreed with her earlier statements in an interview with NBC News, which aired on Friday.
"I'm a lawyer, and I'm an informant," she said. "Since 2013, I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian Attorney General."
Trump said about the revelation on Saturday night, "Do you know what, if it did, it was" because Putin and the group said, "You know, this trump is killing us, why do not you say that? You, that you are involved with the government so that we can make your life in the United States even more chaotic. "
Trump has not yet recognized any relationship between Veselnitskaya and Putin or the Russian government.
When the British music journalist Rob Goldstone first presented Trump's eldest son Donald Trump Jr. in Trump Tower 2016 in 2016, he wrote in an e-mail: "The Crown Prosecutor of Russia … offered to supply the Trump campaign as well some official documents and information that could affect Hillary and her dealings with Russia and be very useful to her father. "
Goldstone added that the meeting was" part of Russia and government support to Mr. Trump. "
As Business Insider reported, Veselnitskaya brought a memo to the Trump Tower Meeting, which contained many of the same points of discussion as one that Chaika's office had written two months earlier. Both memos largely focus on criticizing the 2012 Magnitsky Act, a bill that Putin strongly rejects that sanctions suspected rich Russians of human rights violations.
Details of the Trump Team's and Russians' Contacts During and After the Election
After reports of the meeting surfaced, Trump Jr. published the evolving statements about his purpose and finally acknowledged that Veselnitskaya Clinton had promised dirt, but that the information never came to light came.
Meanwhile, Trump's lawyers initially said he had no knowledge of the meeting or its consequences.
But the Washington Post later reported that Trump was the one who dictated Trump Junior's initial misleading statement about the purpose of the meeting.
This week, House Intelligence Committee Democrats released new details in their refutation of the panel's final Russia investigation report, which indicated there was additional contact between Trump's campaign and key players during and after the Trump Tower election.
In particular, member Adam Ship told CNN that Veselnitskaya had turned to the Trump family after the election to pursue their efforts to lift the Magnitsky Act.
"Obviously, there is an expectation on the Russian side that they could now succeed with the Magnitsky Law, as the previous meeting and communication dealt with the offer of help," Schiff said. "It seems the Russians are ready to repay."
Aras Agalarov, an Azerbaijani-Russian oligarch and real estate developer who was a key figure in building the Trump Tower meeting, also turned to Trump's transition team. And Agalinov's son, Emin, wrote to Trump Jr. two days after the meeting, according to Buzzfeed.
Aras Agalarov's election to Trump's team came through Goldstone, who was the main mediator between the Trump campaign and Veselnitskaya during the election campaign.
In an e-mail dated November 28, 2016, to Trump's assistant Rhona Graff, Goldstone wrote: "Aras Agalarov has asked me to share this document in the hope that it will be forwarded to the appropriate team."
According to the Democrats in the House Intelligence Committee, the document attached to the e-mail was related to the Magnitsky Act.
Graff forwarded the e-mail to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
"The PE [President Elect] knows Aras well," wrote Graff. "Rob is his representative in the US and sent it on, I do not know what to do next, if any."
"Look what happened," Trump said at his rally on Saturday. "Look at how these politicians fell for this scrap. Russian arrangements – give me a break."