WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — At least one other Russian attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. and two other senior Trump campaign operatives, according to reports.
Rinat Akmetshin was born in the former Soviet Union and served in its military. He has suspected ties to Russian intelligence. Now a U.S. citizen, he lobbies to lift anti-Russian sanctions.
Akmetshin has worked with Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer with Kremlin ties who secured the meeting with the president’s eldest son on the pretense of providing damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
Akmetshin’s presence raises more questions about who attended the meeting and undercuts Trump, Jr.’s explanation earlier this week.
“As far as this incident is concerned, this is all of it,” asked Fox News correspondent Sean Hannity.
“This is everything. This is everything,” Trump, Jr. replied.
CBS News has learned President Donald Trump was briefed about the meeting three days before it was disclosed in The New York Times, though it seems he was not aware there were more people in the room than initially reported.
“It was a meeting that went very, very quickly, very fast,” said President Trump. “Two other people in the room, I guess one of them left almost immediately and the other one was not really focused on the meeting.”
The president is referring to campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, now a Senior White House Adviser. CBS News confirmed Kushner has revised his paperwork for a White House security clearance twice. The last revision mentioned the Russian lawyer meeting. It’s unknown if that update also included the lobbyist, Akmetshin.
“Going into meetings with people who have Kremlin ties on the part of anybody who’s in national politics, without thoroughly vetting what they’re doing, is politically and possibly legally quite dangerous,” said Jeffrey Mankoff, a Russian specialist with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Being reached out to by representatives of the Russian government or intelligence services should certainly spark a red flag and prompt a call to the FBI.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee said Trump, Jr. and Kushner will be called to testify.