Tampa Bay Times

Russia lawyer shared data with Kremlin

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Natalia V. Veselnitsk­aya arrived at a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 hoping to interest top Trump campaign officials in the contents of a memo she believed contained informatio­n damaging to the Democratic Party and, by extension, Hillary Clinton. The material was the fruit of her research as a private lawyer, she has repeatedly said, and any suggestion that she was acting at the Kremlin’s behest that day is anti-Russia “hysteria.” But interviews and records show that in the months before the meeting, Veselnitsk­aya had discussed the allegation­s with one of Russia’s most powerful officials, the prosecutor general, Yuri Y. Chaika. And the memo she brought with her closely followed a document that Chaika’s office had given to a U.S. congressma­n two months earlier, incorporat­ing some paragraphs

verbatim. The coordinati­on between the Trump Tower visitor and the Russian prosecutor general undercuts Veselnitsk­aya’s account that she was a purely independen­t actor when she sat down with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and Paul Manafort, then the Trump campaign chairman.

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