A music publicist who represents the son of a wealthy Azerbaijan-Russian developer and is friendly with the Trump family claimed credit Sunday for setting up the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer last June at Trump Tower.
Rob Goldstone, the publicist, told The Washington Post that he arranged the meeting between Trump Jr. and Natalia Veselnitskaya at the request of a Russian client, who he subsequently said was Russian pop star Emin Agalarov. He said he attended the meeting along with Veselnitskaya, and a photo from his Facebook page suggests he was at Trump Tower that day.
Veselnitskaya is known for waging a harsh campaign against the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which blacklisted Russians suspected of human-rights abuses, and has ties to the Kremlin. She is married to a former deputy transportation minister of the Moscow region, and her clients have included Russian state-owned businesses.
Goldstone, who is originally from Manchester, England, manages Emin Agalarov — the son of the wealthy Azerbaijani-Russian developer Aras Agalarov, who brought President Donald Trump’s Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013. Aras is named in the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele detailing the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Moscow.
A photo on Goldstone’s Instagram page shows Emin with Trump at his Trump Doral golf club in April. That, and at least one photo of Trump and Goldstone seated at the same table in 2013, indicate his relationship with the Trump family goes beyond the president’s eldest son. He is also friends with Lara Trump, the wife of Trump’s son Eric, on Facebook.
Photos on a Russian-language blog post that announced the deal between Aras and Trump to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow show Goldstone seated at the table along with Aras’s son, Emin, at Trump International Hotel Las Vegas in June 2013.
Goldstone did not return Business Insider’s request for comment. But he told The Post that Veselnitskaya wanted to ask Trump Jr. if his father would consider addressing the Russian adoption issue if he were elected president.
Trump Jr. originally said the focus of the meeting was Russian adoption in a statement to the New York Times, which subsequently reported that he took the meeting because he had been promised potentially damaging information on then-presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The adoption issue was likely just a pretext, however, for a broader discussion of the Magnitsky Act — a bill passed in 2012 that authorizes the president to deny visas to, and freeze the assets of, Russians believed to have been complicit in Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky’s death. Magnitsky uncovered a $230 million tax fraud scheme in 2008 that implicated Russian President Vladimir Putin and became one of the biggest corruption scandals of his presidency.
Magnitsky was later thrown in jail and died in custody, and an independent human-rights commission found he had been illegally arrested and beaten. The Kremlin maintains that Magnitsky died of a heart attack.
The meeting between Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya was also attended by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort. But Goldstone has managed Emin Agalarov since at least 2013, and his photos show that he travels frequently to Russia.
He posted a photo on his Instagram page shortly after Trump won the election wearing a shirt that said: “Russia.”