Report: Music Publicist Set Up Meeting Between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian Lawyer Offering Clinton Dirt
Donald Trump appeared in a music video by Russian singer Emin Agalarov in 2013.
The latest bombshell connecting President Trump's 2016 campaign to Russian sources has a bizarre music industry twist. The story begins with a report in The New York Times over the weekend that revealed a meeting between Donald Trump Jr., close aide to Pres. Trump (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner and then campaign manager Paul Manafort with a Russian Lawyer who promised the Trump team potentially useful information on Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton.
The meeting took place in June 2016, shortly after Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination, and according to The Washington Post, it was set up by veteran music industry publicist Rob Goldstone. The paper reported that Goldstone (whose official website boasts of recent projects with Tony Bennett, Sting, Dave Matthews Band and Mary J. Blige) was friendly with Trump Jr. after the pair met while working on the 2013 Miss Universe pageant.
Goldstone -- who had not responded to requests for comment from Billboard at press time -- told the Post he arranged the meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who reportedly told candidate Trump's son that she had "information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton." As it turns out, the lawyer did not have anything "meaningful" to offer, and the tease of useful opposition research was just a "pretext" for a meeting that turned into a discussion on Russian adoption policy.
Goldstone has a long history in the music business, dating back to his work in the 1980s in Australia representing such stars as Michael Jackson, B.B. King and James Taylor, as well as a corporate client list that has included the Hard Rock Cafe, Virgin Megastores and HMV Megastores. More interestingly, he's been managing Russian pop singer Emin Agalarov, whose father, Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, is friendly with the Trump family.
How friendly? The Post reported that the senior Agalarov sponsored the Trump-owned Miss Universe Pageant when it was held outside Moscow in 2013 and the family had committed to building a Trump Tower in Russia before Trump's run for president. And though Trump has repeatedly said he has no business in Russia, the Agalarov connections go even deeper, as ThinkProgress noted that Trump made a boardroom-centered cameo in Emin's 2013 video for his single "Another Life," in which the then-Celebrity Apprentice host deployed his infamous "You're fired!" catchphrase. Watch the video below.
Trump's attorney said the president was not aware of the 2016 meeting with the Russian source and that he did not attend it. After a series of weekend stories painting the revelation as another potentially damaging piece of evidence for the various investigative bodies looking into Russian interference in the U.S. election, Trump Jr. posted a pair of tweets Monday morning (July 10) defending his actions.
Obviously I'm the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent... went nowhere but had to listen. https://t.co/ccUjL1KDEa— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 10, 2017
No inconsistency in statements, meeting ended up being primarily about adoptions. In response to further Q's I simply provided more details. https://t.co/FdT1D4hfhz— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 10, 2017