Rob Goldstone, the British publicist who arranged and attended the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer, will testify before the House and Senate intelligence committees as early as next week, sources familiar with the matter told.
Congressional Russia investigators to interview British publicist who set up Trump Tower meeting
The agreement for Goldstone to appear before the congressional Russia panels is the latest sign that the music publicist is ready to cooperate with the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections. Last month, Goldstone said he was ready to come to the United States to talk to special counsel Robert Mueller, though a date was not set.
“I’m keen to talk to them and put my recollection of events in the public record,” Goldstone said in an interview with The Sunday Times. “After the story initially broke, it seemed to quiet down for a while. But now it’s back in the news with such force, I feel it’s time for me to explain what happened.”
Goldstone was thrust into the middle of the Trump-Russia story earlier this year when the Trump Tower meeting of Trump Jr.; Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; former campaign chairman Paul Manafort; and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was revealed.
In emails pitching Trump Jr. on the meeting, Goldstone said Veselnitskaya was able to provide the Trump campaign with “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary (Clinton) and her dealings with Russia.” Goldstone’s email also said the information being offered was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
“I love it,” Trump Jr. responded to Goldstone.
Goldstone set up the meeting on behalf of his client, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, whose father, Aras, is a Russian real estate mogul with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump Jr. and the other meeting attendees have maintained that the meeting was instead focused on US sanctions against Russia, rather than dirt on Clinton.
The congressional Russia panels have interviewed most of the eight people who attended the meeting, including Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, translator Anatoli Samochornov and Agalarov associate Ike Kaveladze.
Both panels have also spoken to Kushner, and Trump Jr. is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. The Senate panel expects to talk to him later this month. Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina has said he wanted to speak to all the other meeting participants if possible before talking to Trump Jr.