-- The husband of the former Florida chair of the Trump campaign obtained a front-row seat to a June 2016 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing for Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney who had met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower eight days prior.
Lanny Wiles, the husband of former Florida campaign chair Susie Wiles, saved the prominent seat for Veselnitskaya at the June 14 hearing on “U.S. Policy Toward Putin’s Russia,” ABC News has confirmed.
Photos and video of Veselnitskaya at the hearing show her seated directly behind Michael McFaul, former United States ambassador to Russia from 2012-2014.
Veselnitskaya’s work and connections have come under scrutiny after it was revealed last weekend that the Russian lawyer met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower in June 2016. The meeting was allegedly pitched by Veselnitskaya as an opportunity for her to share damning information about Trump’s election rival, Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. said that Veselnitskaya instead used the meeting to lobby in favor of overturning the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 bill that blocks certain Russian officials' entrance to the U.S. and their use of the U.S. banking system.
Lanny Wiles told ABC News he has “absolute, zero connection” to any relations the Russian lawyer may have had to the Trump campaign.
Susie Wiles, who was working for the Trump campaign at the time, told ABC News she was not aware of who her husband reserved seats for in the Congressional hearing, and said she has no knowledge of Veselnitskaya’s contact with the Trump campaign.
“It’s an unfortunate coincidence that I was helping and supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy while this meeting was going on,” she said.