- The Washington Times - Friday, July 14, 2017

A former Soviet Union counter intelligence officer was also at the meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and other members of the Trump team when they met with a Russian lawyer last summer, NBC News reported Friday.

The former intelligence officer is now a Russia-American lobbyist and denies any current ties to the Russian government.

The report did not name the lobbyist, but did say he holds dual citizenship with the United States and Russia.

Rinat Akhmetshin confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that he was at the meeting, a fact that Mr. Trump Jr. hasn’t disclosed. Mr. Akhmetshin has been reported to have ties to Russian intelligence agencies, a characterization he dismisses as a “smear campaign,” the AP said.

He told the AP he served in the Soviet military in a unit that was part of counterintelligence but was never formally trained as a spy.

Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat and a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, issued a statement Friday on the latest development: “… Whether the additional party or parties present during the meeting with these top Trump campaign personnel at the time Donald Trump had seized the nomination were connected directly with Russian intelligence or not, it is clear the Kremlin got the message that Donald Trump welcomed the help of the Russian government in providing dirt on Hillary Clinton.”

The president’s eldest son and other members of the Trump campaign met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last summer after learning she may have compromising information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The meeting did not yield any such information, according to Mr. Trump Jr.

During the meeting, Mr. Akhmetshin said Ms. Veselnitskaya presented the Trump associates with details of what she believed were illicit funds that had been funneled to the Democratic National Committee. And she suggested that making the information public could help the Trump campaign.

“This could be a good issue to expose how the DNC is accepting bad money,” Mr. Akhmetshin recalled her saying, the AP reported.

Mr. Trump Jr. asked the attorney if she had all the evidence to back up her claims, including whether she could demonstrate the flow of the money. But Ms. Veselnitskaya said the Trump campaign would need to research it more. After that, Mr. Trump Jr. lost interest, according to Mr. Akhmetshin.

“They couldn’t wait for the meeting to end,” he said.

• This article was based in part on wire service reports.

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