Senate Serves a Huge Nothingburger With Trump Tower Transcripts

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The committee released transcripts of five hours worth of testimony, taken in September of a year ago, where Trump Jr. painted himself as a hapless innocent with convenient bouts of amnesia who just happened to have wandered into a meeting with a group of foreign agents eager to tip an election in his father's favor. Still, details about the American businessman's failed courtship of the Russian autocrat - some of which were freshly revealed in Goldstone's testimony and others that were reported by The Washington Post two years ago - illustrate the depth and tenure of Trump's infatuation, which predated the 2016 presidential campaign during which he routinely praised Putin.

'There is no doubt that Russian Federation undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections, ' the committee's Republican chairman, Senator Richard Burr, said in a joint statement with the committee's top Democrat after a closed hearing on the issue.

Parts of the assessment were declassified in January 2017 and concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign during the 2016 election to "denigrate" Hillary Clinton; the assessment also said that Putin and the Russian government "developed a clear preference" for Trump over the course of the campaign.

Phone records show that Donald Trump Jr. called a blocked number before and after calls with Agalarov arranging the meeting and again on the night of the meeting.

We've known Manafort took notes during the meeting, and now we know what they said.

The current status of the Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry, part of Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller's broad counterintelligence and criminal inquiries into Russia's election interference, is unclear.

"In the transcript from Trump Jr.'s testimony, he says, "(I) n his email to me Rob suggested that someone had official documents and information that would incriminate Hilary Clinton and her dealings with Russian Federation and that the information would be very useful to the campaign". The meeting had been pitched to Trump Jr.by a British music publicist who claimed that Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya wanted to share possibly damaging information on Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic rival.

Mark Warner, the committee's vice chairman, said. Former FBI Director James Comey, who was sacked by Trump, was invited but did not appear. But Mr. Trump's memory was fuzzy when it came to who was on the other end of the calls. "I did not even know that he had been to Russian Federation".

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"You know, Don Jr. did testify" before the House Intelligence Committee, as well, King said. He wrote that Agalarov hoped the document would be delivered to "the appropriate team".

Democrats on the committee simultaneously released their own analysis of the information.

Goldstone told investigators he had contacted Trump's longtime secretary on behalf of Aras Agalarov, a Moscow billionaire real-estate developer who is an associate of Putin.

Veselnitskaya, who has long denied that she was acting on behalf of the Russian government, was a lawyer who also represented a Russian businessman whom USA authorities alleged used some of the Russian tax-fraud proceeds to buy Manhattan real estate.

Mr Peskov invited Mr Trump to attend the Olympic Winter Games in February 2014 in Sochi "and said he'd be happy to meet him there or at any future time", Mr Goldstone said, an offer Mr Trump did not accept.

Agalarov was a partner of Trump's in staging the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.

Trump Jr. replied to the email, saying, "If it's what you say I love it". Goldstone emailed Trump's personal secretary, Rhona Graff, on July 22, 2015, just six days after Trump launched his presidential campaign, inviting Trump to attend Aras Agalarov's 60th birthday party on November 8 of that year in Moscow.

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