- Rick Gates, the former deputy chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign, testified to prosecutors that Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and former communications Hope Hicks attended a meeting in the days before the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between top campaign officials and Russian lobbyists.
- Previous media reports have said that one of the lobbyists, Natalia Veselnitskaya, ran into Ivanka in an elevator after the meeting June 9 meeting as well.
- Gates also testified that Manafort warned the group during the initial meeting that that the June 9 meeting “likely would not yield vital information and they should be careful.”
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According to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report in the Russia investigation, Rick Gates testified that the president’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, attended a meeting in the days before a June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between senior Trump campaign officials and Russian lobbyists offering dirt on the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Gates served as President Donald Trump’s deputy campaign chairman during the 2016 election. He was also the right-hand man to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has been convicted in the investigation and was one of the officials who attended the meeting.
Gates pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and false statements and began cooperating with prosecutors last year.
According to Mueller’s report, Gates testified to prosecutors that he recalled the initial meeting was attended by Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, former communications director Hope Hicks – as well as Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who according to Gates, joined later in the meeting.
Gates further testified that Manafort warned the group that the June 9 meeting “likely would not yield vital information and they should be careful,” the report said.
Hicks, meanwhile, denies knowledge of the June 9 meeting before it was reported by The New York Times in 2017. And the report said Kushner did not recall if the meeting came up at all earlier that week.
The Trump Tower meeting has been at the center of several threads in the Russia investigation stemming from questions about whether the Trump campaign knowingly coordinated with the Russian government during the election.
In an initial email to Trump Jr. pitching the meeting, the British music publicist Rob Goldstone said the offer of dirt on the Clinton campaign was “part of Russia and its government’s support” for Trump’s candidacy. At the time, Trump was the presumptive Republican nominee.
In response, Trump Jr. said he “loved it.”
Ultimately, several people involved in the meeting said nothing came of it and it was in fact part of Veselnitskaya’s protracted lobbying campaign to get the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which blacklists Russians suspected of human-rights abuses, overturned.
Mueller’s report added that when Veselnitskaya broached the topic of the Magnitsky Act during the meeting, Trump Jr. replied that “they could revisit the issue if and when they were in government.”
The president was roped into the controversy after The Washington Post reported that he “dictated” an initially misleading statement Trump Jr. put out in response to reports of the meeting, saying that it had nothing to do with campaign business.
Trump’s team maintains that he had nothing to do with drafting the response.
- Read more:
- Here’s everyone who has been charged and convicted in the Russia probe so far
- Here’s a glimpse at Trump’s decades-long history of business ties to Russia
- Mueller’s report didn’t charge any members of the Trump campaign with conspiracy to influence the 2016 election – here’s what ‘collusion’ actually means
- Meet the man behind the Trump-Russia investigation: the special counsel Robert Mueller
- Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Hope Hicks attended a June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between top campaign officials and Russian lobbyists. Instead, Ivanka, Eric, and Hicks attended a meeting in the days prior to the June 9 meeting during which Donald Trump Jr. allegedly first brought up the Russian overture.