- The Russian lawyer who met with members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in June 2016 has contradicted her earlier denials of being a Russian operative, The New York Times reported.
- Natalia Veselnitskaya told the Senate Judiciary Committee in November that she worked only as a private lawyer, and she downplayed her ties to the Kremlin.
- But according to The Times, Veselnitskaya told NBC News in an interview set to air Friday that she had been “actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general” since 2013.
A Russian lawyer who met with members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Trump Tower in June 2016 on the premise of offering damaging information about the Democratic nominee had closer ties to the Kremlin that she has previously acknowledged,The New York Times reported on Friday.
The Times reported that Natalia Veselnitskaya detailed in an interview with NBC News, set to air Friday, her previously undisclosed relationship with Yuri Chaika, Russia’s prosecutor general.
“I am a lawyer, and I am an informant,” she said, according to The Times. “Since 2013, I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general.”
Veselnitskaya told the Senate Judiciary Committee in November that she worked exclusively as a private lawyer and said her ties to the Russian government and Chaika were only in a professional capacity.
“I operate independently of any governmental bodies,” she told the committee, adding: “I have no relationship with Mr. Chaika, his representatives, and institutions other than those related to my professional functions of a lawyer.”
According to The Times, Veselnitskaya also discussed with NBC News emails obtained by an organisation founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former Russian oil tycoon who opposes President Vladimir Putin, that further detailed her relationship to Chaika.
Business Insider reported in October that a memo Veselnitskaya provided the Trump campaign at the Trump Tower meeting contained many of the same talking points as one written two months earlier by Chaika’s office.
The Times said that the Russian prosecutor general’s office did not respond to requests for comment and that Veselnitskaya said she would respond in two weeks.