Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer with alleged ties to the Russian government, said that the Trump campaign was desperate to get dirt on Hillary Clinton during the run-up to the election last year.
When asked in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday whether Trump Jr. or other members of the Trump campaign had sought out information that would do harm to the Clinton campaign, Veselnitskaya said, “It’s quite possible that maybe they were looking for such information, they wanted it so badly.”
Veselnitskaya also denies ever having information that would hurt the Clinton campaign. “I never had any damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton,” she said of the meeting that took place last summer. “It was never my intention to have that.”
A New York Times report this past week details how Trump Jr. had scheduled a meeting with Veselnitskaya after she allegedly suggested she had information relevant to hurting the Clinton campaign.
Trump Jr. seemed to acknowledge the meeting did take place, and he admitted on Twitter that he was doing “oppositional research.”
Obviously I'm the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent… went nowhere but had to listen. https://t.co/ccUjL1KDEa
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 10, 2017
Yet the younger Trump’s assertions that this was run-of-the-mill oppositional research ignores the fact that Veselnitskaya’s ties may put the administration at risk of appearing to collude with the Russian government during the campaign. While Veselnitskaya denies having any connections to the Kremlin, her clients include state-owned businesses as well as a senior Russian official’s son.
It is also illegal for campaigns to accept foreign contributions — including information relevant to their opponent’s character — that can benefit them politically, ABC News reports. If information did pass hands, it could violate federal law on such limitations, legal experts suggest.