Ike Kaveladze, a vice president at a Russian real estate company with ties to President Donald Trump, was the previously unknown eighth person present at the June 2016 meeting in which Donald Trump Jr. expected to hear incriminating information about Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer.
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Kaveladze's attendance, first reported by The Washington Post, was confirmed by ABC News, which spoke with his attorney Tuesday. The meeting drew attention last week as possible evidence of a Trump campaign effort to collude with Russia after emails released by Trump Jr. documented his interest in the possibility of damaging intelligence about his father's Democratic rival.
Kaveladze's attorney, Scott Balber, said that his client is an employee of the Crocus Group and that he attended at the request of the company’s president, Aras Agalarov, father of singer and businessman Emin Agalarov. Emin Agalarov was involved in the organization of the meeting with Trump Jr. via publicist Rob Goldstone, according to Trump Jr.'s emails. The Agalarovs worked with Trump to host the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.
Balber said Kaveladze does not remember speaking a word in the meeting beyond "hello" and said he was there to be a translator, but when he arrived, he discovered lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya already had one. Kaveladze's attorney added that he had no prior relationship with Veselnitskaya and he said “unequivocally” that Kaveladze has absolutely no connection to the Russian government.
"Not in any respect, now or ever," said Balber.
The attorney also confirmed that the office of special counsel Robert Mueller called him over the weekend to say they wanted to talk to Kaveladze. Balber said Kaveladze will “cooperate fully.” No time has been set and the Senate and House committees investigating Russian influence have yet to reach out. As the Post first reported, confirmation of Mueller's interest is the first evidence that the special counsel's investigation is focusing on the meeting.
Balder told ABC News that Kaveladze does not remember any discussion of information on Clinton during the meeting. He only remembers discussion of the Magnitsky Act. Balber also denies that Kaveladze is a lobbyist working on the Magnitsky Act.
The attorney added that Kaveladze said there were no other attendees beyond himself and the previously known other seven:
- Donald Trump Jr.
- Rob Goldstone, the publicist who worked with Trump Jr. to arrange the meeting via singer and businessman Emin Agalarov.
- Paul Manafort, then-campaign chair
- Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a campaign adviser
- Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who it was said had information about Clinton
- Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist who accompanied Veselnitskaya
- Anatoli Samachornov, a translator brought by Veselnitskaya