Russian-American lobbyist joined Trump's son's meeting, too

Donald Trump Jr. watches as his father takes the oath of office. Carlos Barria | Reuters

Donald Trump Jr. watches as his father takes the oath of office. Carlos Barria | Reuters

"I think he thought he was looking out for his father's best interest", he said.

One by one, President Trump's surrogates have dismissed a report by the New York Times showing emails between Trump Jr. and a business associate who indicated that the Russian lawyer had compromising information about Hillary Clinton. "He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer, not a government lawyer but a Russian lawyer".

Reports have identified Akhmetshin as a former Russian counterintelligence officer but he has denied the allegations.

Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and current White House senior adviser, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort also attended the meeting, and Akhmetshin said he recognized them both.

Representatives for Kushner and Manafort declined to comment when reached by NBC News, while a lawyer for Trump Jr. did not respond to "multiple requests", according to the network.

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Also that month, a Washington lobbying firm that Manafort co-managed registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent. Richard Blumenthal, a member of the committee, said it was "long overdue" that Manafort be called to testify.

Unlike Kushner, Trump Jr. does not serve in the administration and is not required to disclose his foreign contacts.

The meeting in June past year has heightened questions about whether Mr Trump's campaign co-ordinated with the Russian government during the election, which is the focus of federal and congressional investigations.

What's more likely is that Trump has known about the emails at least as long as his lawyers have, or he knew about his son's secret meeting from the beginning.

Trump told reporters, in an exchange that was originally off-the-record, but later made public by the White House.

Kushner has been under increased scrutiny since May when it was revealed that he sought to establish back-channel communications between Trump's inner circle and Russian Federation.

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"We still have no reason to believe that the goal of the meeting was to talk about Hillary Clinton or the U.S. election", Balber said.

In Washington, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the younger Trump asking him to testify about his June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Mr Agalarov worked with Donald Trump Snr on staging the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.

"My son is a wonderful young man", the president said. "Nothing happened from the meeting", the president said.

Trump Jr. on Tuesday released his emails with Rob Goldstone, a music publicist with ties to the Trumps. The email chain detailed Trump Jr. agreeing to meet with Veselnitskaya, who offered damaging information against Hillary Clinton.

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