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By Jack Crowe
A Secret Service spokesman denied a suggestion made by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer that the security agency vetted a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian nationals in 2016.
Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer in June of 2016 with the understanding that she had damaging information related to Russian support for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, offered the Secret Service’s vetting of the meeting as evidence of the benign nature of the encounter.
“Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in. The president had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me,” Sekulow said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
Secret Service spokesman Mason Brayman rejected Sekulow’s statements Sunday, pointing out that Trump Jr. was not under Secret Service protection at the time of the meeting.
“Donald Trump, Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June, 2016. Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time,” Brayman told Reuters.
Trump Jr. released an email exchange between him and an intermediary who arranged the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. The exchange clearly shows Trump Jr. met with the Russian lawyer, who was then in the midst of a pro-Russia lobbying campaign, in order to obtain damaging information on Clinton.
Trump has denied having any knowledge of the meeting and Trump Jr. maintains Veselnitskaya did not produce any information related to Clinton.