Fusion GPS Chief Saw Russian Lawyer Before and After Her Trump Tower Meeting

Glenn R. Simpson, co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, arrives for a scheduled appearance before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, admitted in his recently published book he met two times on the same day with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who led the infamous Trump Tower meeting.

Simpson said he met Veselnitskaya those two times the same day as the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting, seeing her in New York before and in D.C. after Veselnitskaya’s Manhattan confab with the top brass of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Simpson also admitted that present at a dinner he had with Veselnitskaya the same day as the Trump Tower meeting was Russian-born Washington lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, who also attended the Trump Tower meeting.

Simpson claimed that as “incredible as it would later seem to Republican investigators,” neither Veselnitskaya nor Akhmetshin “ever mentioned to Simpson that they had sandwiched an encounter with the brains trust of the Trump campaign between that New York court date and their D.C. dinner.”

Fusion GPS was behind the anti-Trump dossier and was paid for its work by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee via the Perkins Coie law firm.

Veselnitskaya and Ahkmetshin worked closely with Fusion GPS on a legal matter involving the Russian-linked Prevezon Holdings Ltd., a firm that had settled a case in the U.S. involving the purchase of real estate with allegedly laundered money, accusations that centered around the Magnitsky Act.

The Magnitsky Act was the very topic of the Trump Tower meeting, yet Simpson claims he was not told by the two Russians about the meeting that day.

Instead he says he traveled to New York on June 9, 2016 to attend the hearing on Prevezon with BakerHostetler lawyers and Veselnitskaya.

That same day, Simpson took a train back to D.C. and had dinner with both Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin.

He writes:

After the hearing, Simpson dashed to Penn Station to catch a train home. As he did so, unbeknownst to him, Veselnitskaya was heading uptown for a far more consequential appointment: a meeting in Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner to deliver what the Russians had promised the Trump campaign would be Kremlin dirt on Hillary Clinton.

This session between the Russian lawyer and the top brass of the Trump campaign would remain unknown to Fusion, the press, and investigators until news of it broke more than a year later, in July 2017.

After meeting the Trump campaign brass that Friday, Veselnitskaya traveled to Washington to meet with her American lawyers, who had organized a social dinner at a tapas restaurant called Barcelona Wine Bar, in the neighborhood of Cathedral Heights. Simpson attended. So did an impish, Russian-born, D.C.-based lobbyist named Rinat Akhmetshin, who, it was later revealed, had accompanied Veselnitskaya to the Trump Tower meeting.

Simpson got the day wrong. June 9, 2016 was actually a Thursday. He made the disclosures in his recently published book written with Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch and titled Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump.

Simpson’s encounters with both Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin were not the only unusual meetings the same day as the Trump Tower confab. In testimony, Akhmetshin further revealed that the same day of the Trump Tower meeting he met with a Clinton associate after the confab and possibly also just before.

In his senate testimony, Akhmetshin related a personal connection to Clinton via attorney Ed Lieberman, whose late wife Evelyn previously served as Clinton’s chief of staff when she was First Lady. Evelyn Lieberman also served as Bill Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, and famously transferred Monica Lewinsky out of the White House to the Defense Department.

The New York Times previously reported that Lieberman in 1998 arranged for Akhmetshin’s position at “an organization pushing what he described as a pro-democracy agenda for Kazakhstan.” Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says he met Akhmetshin through Lieberman.

In his Senate testimony, Akhmetshin described taking an Acela train to New York the day of the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting, and says that Lieberman “may” have been with him on the train.

Akhmetshin says his dealings with Lieberman in New York that day were “personal” and centered on a scholarship program that he claims Lieberman started. “And he was in New York that day to discuss arrangements with Metropolitan Museum with kind of taking care of that scholarship award,” Akhmetshi stated.

Akhmetshin says that while he was in New York, he had lunch with Veselnitskaya, who told him about the scheduled meeting that day at Trump Tower, but she didn’t say anything about him attending.

He claims that after he had lunch with Veselnitskaya, she called him and asked him to attend the Trump Tower meeting, but she didn’t suggest any role he would play at the meeting or why he should attend.

After the meeting at Trump Tower, Akhmetshin says he went to dinner and a play with Lieberman, and the subject of the meeting that same day did not come up in his conversations with Lieberman at dinner or during the play. Akhmetshin also stated in the testimony that he was not asked to keep the meeting confidential.

In other words, Akhmetshin is claiming that he attended a meeting at the campaign headquarters of Clinton’s presidential challenger with that challenger’s son and other top Trump staffers, and that same night Akhmetshin did not even mention the meeting to his friend Lieberman, a Clinton associate.

He also said he had drinks that same night with another “friend” but could not remember who that friend was.  It was not immediately clear how Akhmetshin went to dinner and a play with Lieberman, ostensibly in New York, and also made it to D.C. to attend the dinner that Simpson relates in his book.

Later in his testimony, when Akhmetshin described disclosing another matter to journalist friends, he was questioned about his claim that he didn’t tell Lieberman that same night about the Trump Jr. meeting, yet he seemingly evidenced a lack of discretion with reporters.

During further questioning in Senate testimony, Akhmetshin admited to possibly telling Clinton associate Lieberman about the Trump Tower meeting, but says he may have told him on another day and not the night they met the same day as the meeting.

Meanwhile, all Trump Tower meeting participants agree the confab focused largely on the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions Russian officials accused of involvement in the death of a Russian tax accountant, as well as talk about a Russian tax evasion scheme and alleged connections to the Democratic National Committee.

Veselnitskaya, who led the meeting, told the Wall Street Journal that she approached Russian real estate magnate Aras Agalarov, whom she was representing, to help set up a meeting with the Trump campaign as part of her efforts opposing the Magnitsky Act. She was also looking to spread information about Bill Browder, the primary supporter of the Magnitsky Act, she said.

Fusion GPS investigated Browder for another client and their findings were used in the Prevezon trial.

Rob Goldstone, the English publicist and music manager for Agalarov’s son, admitted that when he wrote Donald Trump Jr. to set up the meeting with a Russian attorney at Trump Tower he used deliberately hyperbolic language to ensure that the meeting took place. In testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee reviewed in full by Breitbart News, Goldstone further said that he believes the meeting was a “bait and switch” by a Russian lobbyist seeking a meeting on another matter by misleadingly claiming to be bringing the Trump campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.

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