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Russian-American Lobbyist Claims Trump Jr Asked About ‘Illicit’ DNC Funds

On Friday morning, the latest developments in the story around Donald Trump Jr. meeting with a Russian lawyer in June of 2016 continued to move quickly.

Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist of such renown that he has been profiled by Radio Free Europe, told The Associated Press that he accompanied the Russian lawyer in that meeting.

That there were additional people in the room on the Russian side had first been reported just a few hours earlier. Alan Futerfas, an attorney for Trump Jr., later confused the issue by saying there was also a third person with the Russian contingent.

Akhmetshin told the AP that Trump Jr. asked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who he had been told worked for the Russian government, if she had any proof of “illicit money” funding the Democratic National Committee.

After Veselnitskaya said that she did not, Akhmetshin claims that Trump Jr.’s interest in the conversation waned. “They couldn’t wait for the meeting to end,” said Akhmetshin.

A spokesman for Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s then-campaign manager, declined comment to the AP, while a spokesman for Jared Kushner and a lawyer for Trump Jr. both did not respond.

“I never thought this would be such a big deal, to be honest,” added Akhmetshin, though he “actually expected more serious” discussions during the meeting, which he said was “not substantive.”

Dmitry Peskov, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Press Secretary, and translator for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told the AP that “We don’t know anything about this person.”

Akhmetshin also denied the allegations that he ever worked for Russian counterintelligence, though he said that he is willing to talk to investigators about the meeting.