An executive at Vkontakte, or VK, Russia’s equivalent to Facebook, emailed Donald Trump Jr. and social media director Dan Scavino in January and November 2016, offering to help promote Trump’s campaign to its millions of users, according to previously undisclosed emails which show follow-up after a meeting at Trump Tower in June of last year. The emails were read to The Washington Post. Their authenticity was confirmed by individuals with knowledge of their contents. They show a new direct “point of contact” between an influential Russian and members of the Trump campaign.
Congressional investigators discovered the emails from the British publicist, Rob Goldstone, who arranged the meeting, and raised questions at Wednesday’s classified meeting with Trump Jr., who claimed he could not recall the interactions, and cited attorney-client privilege.
According to Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee:
As I understand it, this particular conversation for which they were claiming privilege took place after the emails became public, and, was therefore focused more on the reaction to the publication of the emails.
Schiff did note, however, that he did not believe one could “shield communications between individuals merely by having an attorney present.”
An email dated November 5, 2016, from Goldstone to Don Scavino, a former Trump aide who is now the White House’s director of social media, reveals that Konstantin Sidorkov, who serves as VK’s director of partnership marketing, offered to join forces with the Trump campaign.
“It will be the top news in Russia,” Sidorkov wrote. Scavino seemed enthusiastic about the possibility and it’s unclear whether the campaign pursued the idea. “Please feel free to send me whatever you have,” Scavino wrote to Goldstone on Jan. 19. “Thank you so much for looking out for Mr. Trump and his presidential campaign.” He added that “Don and Paul” were on board with the idea — a reference to then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump Jr.
Sidorkov emailed Scavino, Trump Jr. and Donald Trump’s longtime assistant Rhona Graff a few days later. “Nice to meet you and your team,” Sidorkov wrote, before attaching information about VK and its social media reach.
Trump Jr. came under fire earlier this year after he revealed that he met with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign. An intermediary for the lawyer promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic opponent. Trump Jr.’s emails contradict months of denials by the Trump administration of any collusion with Russian operatives.
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