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Here’s what we know so far:
Around the time of last summer’s meeting with Trump Jr., Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya was peddling a new political spin on a well-worn international scandal, according to one person familiar with her work. She was focusing on hedge fund manager William Browder, the subject of her scorn and of a film she was promoting, and on Ziff Brothers Investments LLC, which had invested with Browder, the person said.
Russian prosecutors said they were opening new lines of inquiry against these investors. What Veselnitskaya saw in these steps were alleged tax improprieties that would be a black mark on the Democratic Party, because Browder and at least one member of the wealthy Ziff family had contributed to the Clinton Global Initiative, the person said.
No charges have surfaced in Russia against the Ziffs. Browder called Russia’s investigation last year a politically motivated rehash of old allegations. The Ziff family, through a spokesman, declined to comment. Veselnitskaya didn’t respond to requests for comment.
He [Rinat Akhmetshin] said that “as part of her work, with her clients” Veselnitskaya had found that an American hedge fund was violating Russian tax and securities law and that the fund “seemed linked to the [Democratic National Committee].” He said that Veselnitskaya “left a document behind” after the session.
Rob Goldstone, the former British tabloid journalist and music promoter who arranged the Trump Tower meeting, had written in an email to Donald Trump Jr. that Ms. Veselnitskaya would bring information from Mr. [Yury] Chaika that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton.
What that information was is still not known. But at the time, Mr. Chaika was trying to push back against an American sanctions law, the Magnitsky Act, in part by trying to discredit an American-born businessman, William J. Browder, who had lobbied for its passage. At least some of the information seemed to concern accusations of tax evasion by prominent Democratic donors involved with Mr. Browder.
Mr. Chaika made the same accusations in a statement on his website and in documents handed to Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of California, when he was in Moscow. In an interview, Mr. Rohrabacher said using the information in opposition research against the Democrats in the presidential campaign had never crossed his mind. “That’s a big zero,” he said.
While searching through the leaked emails of U.S. State Department Russian intelligence official Robert Otto, LeakSource discovered documents that Rohrabacher received from Moscow. Included is a file labeled confidential, which contains details matching what news outlets have so far reported on regarding the information Veselnitskaya gave to Trump Jr. Is this the document?
———————————————————————————————————————————What does this have to do with the DNC and Hillary Clinton?
Ziff Brothers Investments’ political contributions in 2016 (via OpenSecrets):
The lawyer [Veselnitskaya] insisted her meeting with Trump Jr. was aimed at countering Browder’s lobbying in America and had nothing to do with the US presidential election.
“I am already tired of talking about it, but apparently nobody wants to hear. This was the story that I brought to Donald Trump Jr. I wanted him to know that Browder, a person who gave up his US citizenship, is trying to manipulate people in Congress,” she said.
“If the Senate wishes to hear the real story, I will be happy to speak up and share everything I wanted to tell Mr. Trump,” she added, referring to the alleged economic crimes that Browder is suspected of in Russia. “I will share everything I know about this situation when millions came into my country and billions left it – and nobody paid taxes.”
Veselnitskaya also said she is now concerned for the safety of her family as it’s been revealed that Browder’s team spied on her family’s activities even before her meeting with Trump Jr.
“It’s been revealed that Mr. Browder and his team have been gathering information about my family,” she told RT, adding, that Browder’s team “found photos of my house and sent them to Kyle Parker… a famous man in the House of Representatives, who worked for Mr Browder for many years – and not for any congressmen or congress as a whole.”
People working for Browder also shared all her personal details with representatives of the State Department, Veselnitskaya said.
An email containing an alleged photo of the Veselnitskaya’s house was discovered in a trove of hacked emails that were leaked online. It was obtained from the personal account of Robert Otto, a US State Department intelligence official tasked with monitoring Russia.