That Russian Lawyer Is Ready to Sing
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That Russian Lawyer Is Ready to Sing

She Says the Trump Campaign Was Willing to Trade Sanctions for Dirt on Clinton

Quid pro quo. The Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. in 2016 says he indicated that a law targeting Russia could be re-examined if his father won the election and asked her for written evidence that illegal proceeds went to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, said in a 2.5-hour interview with Bloomberg in Moscow that she would tell these and other things to the Senate Judiciary Committee on condition that her answers be made public, something it hasn’t approved. She has received scores of questions from the committee, which is investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Veselnitskaya said she’s also ready—if asked—to testify to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Her June 9, 2016, encounter with Donald Trump Jr., First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner and then campaign manager Paul Manafort in New York plays a key role in allegations that the campaign worked with Russia to defeat Clinton.

Gag order. Lawyers for Trump have advised him against sitting down for a wide-ranging interview with the special counsel. His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators. Their stance puts them at odds with Trump, who has said publicly and privately that he is eager to speak with Mueller as part of the investigation into possible ties between his associates and Russia’s election interference, and whether he obstructed justice.

High stepping. Trump’s vision of soldiers marching and tanks rolling down the boulevards of Washington is moving closer to reality. Pentagon officials have begun to plan a grand military parade later this year showcasing the might of America’s armed forces. Trump has long mused publicly and privately about wanting such a parade, but a Jan. 18 meeting between Trump and top generals marked a tipping point. “The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”

Here we go again. Trump called for shutting down the federal government if Congress does not crack down on illegal immigration, even as congressional negotiators closed in on a major budget deal that would set spending levels for two years and break the cycle of fiscal crises that has bedeviled the nation’s capital. On Tuesday night, the House approved a stopgap spending bill that would increase military spending through September while keeping funds flowing to the rest of the government for six weeks. But that vote could be a prelude to a larger breakthrough. The House measure is unlikely to pass the Senate, where Democrats insist that an increase in military spending be matched with a jump in domestic funds.

February 7, 2018