The Latest: Another name added to Trump Tower meeting list
Jul. 19, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on investigations into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia (all times local):
Revelations that a Russian developer's representative was the eighth attendee at a Trump Tower campaign meeting arranged by President Donald Trump's eldest son prompted a new round of castigation Tuesday from Democrats.
The news also brought word that the special counsel investigating possible Trump campaign ties to Russia wants more information about the sit-down.
Attorney Scott Balber tells The Associated Press that officials from the office of special counsel Robert Mueller reached out over the weekend to a lawyer for Ike Kaveladze. Kaveladze works for a Russian developer who once partnered with Trump to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow,
Balber's comments are the first public indication that Mueller is probing the June 2016 gathering in Trump's namesake New York City skyscraper.
The lawyer for a Russian father-son duo cited in emails that laid the foundation for the Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. says his clients never spoke to Trump Jr. to arrange the meeting.
Attorney Scott Balber also said on CNN that Emin and Aras Agalarov never had a follow-up conversation with the Trump campaign about the gathering.
Balber also represents Ike Kaveladze, who was revealed Tuesday as the eighth person at the June 2016 meeting. Balber says Kaveladze is willing to speak about the meeting to the special prosecutor probing Russian campaign meddling. He says his client never saw documents containing negative information about Hillary Clinton.
The emails said such information would be presented at the meeting. Trump Jr. has said nothing of value was discussed.
Former Democratic Sen. Carl Levin says a man who was present at a 2016 meeting with senior Trump officials was the "poster child" for the practice of using hidden ownership of American corporations to launder money.
In a statement, Levin says he investigated the practice in 2000 as the top Democrat on the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He said he asked the Government Accountability Office to review so-called shell corporations and how their bank accounts were set up, and noted that the GAO found that Ike Kaveladze established thousands of U.S. corporations and bank accounts on behalf of people in Russia. The owners of the accounts then moved some $1.4 billion through them.
"Kaveladze claimed he did all this without knowing for whom he was doing it," Levin said.
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee says the revelation of an eighth person at a Trump Tower meeting arranged by Donald Trump Jr. during the campaign "brings home the point that we want to talk to these individuals."
President Donald Trump's eldest son arranged the June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer and others. A representative of the Russian developer who partnered with Donald Trump to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow also attended the meeting, the man's lawyer told media outlets Tuesday.
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said it's disturbing how long it took for Ike Kaveladze's name to come out and said "the Trump family is not coming clean with information."
He said the committee is still reaching out to people in the meeting.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr is confirming that his panel is investigating a 2016 meeting between top officials in the Trump campaign and several individuals with Russian ties.
Burr, a North Carolina Republican, referred to emails released by President Donald Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., last week detailing discussions ahead of the meeting. In the emails, Trump Jr. was told that a Russian lawyer attending the meeting had information damaging to Hillary Clinton.
Burr said Tuesday that "any intelligence out there that suggests somebody is of interest to us, we have to pursue it. ... You've now got an email chain that makes this a very important aspect to get into."
In addition to Trump Jr., former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were also at the meeting.
Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking Trump administration officials for additional information about a Russian-American lobbyist who has acknowledged participating in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower.
Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter Tuesday to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
Grassley says that though he's received some immigration information about the lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, he wants additional materials about his visa applications and travel.
The Iowa senator says that based on the information he's already received, he believes Akhmetshin has not fully disclosed his past military experience.
Akhmetshin confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that he participated in a meeting with a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump's eldest son, son-in-law and campaign chairman.
President Barack Obama's chief of staff has been interviewed by the Senate intelligence committee amid its investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election.
Denis McDonough declined to discuss the meeting as he left an interview with committee staffers Tuesday, but said he was "happy to come up."
The panel is interviewing several former Obama administration officials this week. Panel staff met with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Monday and will also interview former National Security Adviser Susan Rice.
The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee says that special counsel Robert Mueller has approved congressional testimony from President Donald Trump's former campaign chief and others.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has said he wants to hear from Paul Manafort and Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Tuesday that Mueller "has transcribed back that he didn't have a problem with our seeking public testimony from any of these people."
The Judiciary panel has been working with Mueller to ensure there aren't any conflicts between its investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election and the Department of Justice's own investigation. Both are also investigating possible links to the Trump campaign.
A lawyer for a Russian developer says a company representative was the eighth person at a Trump Tower meeting arranged by Donald Trump Jr. during the campaign.
Attorney Scott Balber confirmed to The Washington Post and CNN on Tuesday that Ike Kaveladze (kah-veh-LAHD'-zeh) attended the June 2016 meeting to help with translation.
Balber told the outlets that Kaveladze works for developers Emin and Aras Agalarov (ah-gah-LAH'-rov) and was there to represent them. The father and son worked with Trump on the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.
Balber didn't return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
A person familiar with the meeting speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation confirmed to the AP that Kaveladze attended.