Posts tagged ‘Donald Trump Jr.’
Reported by | Published July 14, 2017 | Fox News
A brief timeline released overnight helps to resolve questions over how Natalia Veselnitskaya even had legal permission to be in the U.S. And it also shows multiple Obama agencies were involved on multiple occasions in granting access to the lawyer after she was initially denied a visa.
According to the timeline released by the Department of Homeland Security, the Obama Justice and Homeland Security departments granted her a special type of “parole” to be in the U.S. from September 2015 through February 2016 to work on a court case in New York. After that expired, according to DHS, the State Department issued her a B1/B2 non-immigrant visa in June 2016, according to DHS, just in time for her meeting with Trump Jr., Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
While Trump Jr. has since said, in hindsight, he would have done things differently, his father on Thursday took a more defiant tone and seemed to blame the Obama administration for letting the lawyer into the country.
Her unusual entry into the U.S. has sparked a furious round of finger-pointing among federal agencies, and the buck appears to stop at the State Department, with assistance from both DOJ and DHS.
But the timeline released overnight at least clarifies how she had approval to be in the U.S., if not why.
“Ms. Veselnitskaya was subsequently paroled into the U.S. several times between 2015 and 2016, ending in February 2016. In June 2016, she was issued a B1/B2 nonimmigrant visa by the U.S. Department of State,” a DHS spokesperson told Fox News Thursday night.
DHS officials also said that it was their agency “in concurrence with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Southern District of New York” which paroled Veselnitskaya into the U.S. Fox News confirmed through court documents that Veselnitskaya initially “applied for a visa to enter the United States, but was denied.”
Preet Bharara was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York at the time the parole was granted.
Veselnitskaya was issued a “Significant Public Benefit Parole” document on Sept. 25, 2015, according to DHS, which expired on Jan. 7, 2016. Veselnitskaya requested an extension to continue her work on the case, but the Southern District of New York’s attorneys’ office denied her request.
“She was not granted a second parole by our office,” SDNY spokesman James Margolin told Fox news in an email. “Her case-related immigration parole ended early in 2016, and it was not renewed by us.”
The U.S. attorney’s office told Fox News on Thursday that Veselnitskaya was indeed granted initial parole by their office, but did not know who, specifically, issued the “piece of paper.”
Prior to DHS pointing fingers at the Department of State, a State spokesperson told Fox News that they had “no further information to provide.” The State Department told Fox News Wednesday that the Department is prohibited by the Immigration and Nationality Act from discussing individual visa cases, and told Fox News that all visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.
The State Department did not respond to Fox News’ request to confirm that they issued Veselnitskaya a B1/B2 non-immigrant visa, or comment on Veselnitskaya’s current immigration status.
It is unclear as to why Veselnitskaya was denied a visa initially by the Obama State Department, and then granted one in later months.
Acting Chief of Media Relations for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Gillian Christensen told Fox News on Thursday that a range of DHS agencies would typically deal with parole requests, but USCIS was not involved in this particular case.
The type of parole Veselnitskaya was granted is given “sparingly” and in “extraordinary circumstances,” including urgent humanitarian reasons, such as medical or family emergency. Broadly speaking, Christensen told Fox News that parole may be requested for a person who “believes his or her presence in the United States will be a significant public benefit,” and cited participation in a civil court case as an example.
“Parole allows an individual to enter the United States and remain for a temporary period corresponding to the reason parole was approved,” Christensen told Fox News. “Parole is not generally authorized for more than one year.”
Veselnitskaya was working as an attorney for a Cyprus-based real estate holdings company called Prevezon, run by Denis Katsyv, son of Pyotr Katsyv, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest advisers, and was given “unlimited resources” by the Kremlin-connected group to run a campaign to get the Magnitsky Act repealed, Fox News reported Wednesday. The Magnitsky Act enacts sanctions on certain Russian officials as a punishment for human rights violations.
Brooke Singman is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.
MSNBC had an interesting conversation this morning with Columbia University Law Professor Richard Briffault who told the hosts and their viewers that basically everything that Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner have been accused of is wrong. Legally, technically, wrong.
As Briffault expertly, and concisely, explains neither man is guilty of “treason,” “perjury,” giving “false statements,” or “colluding” with Russia. Based on all of the “evidence” gathered, the worst that can be said is that Jared Kushner might have lied or he might just be forgetful and Donald Trump Jr. showed bad judgment.
The MSNBC hosts were visibly saddened.
RICHARD BRIFFAULT, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: Treason is a little extreme for this, I mean it is not clear — [Russia] may not be our friend, but it is not clear they are our enemy. We are not at war. It is not clear this violates — it is against the U.S. government. So I am not up to treason yet.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC: So take ‘T’ off the table. What about the ‘P’? Perjury definition: ‘A person under oath states any material which he does not believe to be true.’ Would be constituted as perjury.
BRIEFAULT: Well, with the possible exception of Jared Kushner and the forms he filled out to get his security clearance, I’m not sure any of this has been under oath yet. On those, maybe it is not perjury, but there is a crime of lying to the U.S. government, but you would have to prove he was knowingly and maliciously misleading, and his claim is to say he just forgot. So we’re in a gray area there.
STEPHANIE RUHLE: So can we add in? The TIME Magazine [cover story this week] currently has Don Jr. on the cover, but in their piece they say that in the email chain between Don Jr. and the Russian intermediary, they say ‘Kushner maintains he did not read to the bottom of the email invitation to the meeting, so he didn’t understand the Russian promise it contained, that was on the fourth page. And yet, the subject line says ‘Russia, Clinton Private and Confidential.’ Does that argument that he didn’t scroll down hold any water?
BRIFFAULT: Is is irrelevant. The thing was that he was at the meeting and he didn’t report having been at the meeting –as I understand it– in his intial filing to get the security clearance.
So, at the very least, he has corrected that, but there is some question about how knowing that was. So, perjury no, lying to the government maybe.
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC: We have another one: False statements. This is about a person knowingly and willfully making any materially false statement or representation within any of the three branches of government. This is obviously a lower standard, but does this apply here?
BRIFFAULT: This relates to the filing for the security clearance. It is a simlar kind of question. It was a false statement. Did he know it was false, or did he just forget? And it has been corrected. It may still affect whether he should have a security clearance. But it is not quite up to the level of a crime.
OK. Did you get all of that? Basically Donald Trump Jr. did nothing that was “actionably” wrong. Ali Velshi tries one more time and asks Professor Briffault about collusion, and Briffault crushes Velshi’s liberal dreams…
BRIFFAULT: Collusion isn’t really a crime, I think we are getting at things like ‘conspiracy to commit a crime,’ or coordination of campaign finance stuff. Collusion is more of a political term than a legal term.
URL of the original posting site: http://comicallyincorrect.com/2017/07/12/the-master/#MOC8hqUfDLcLlOT0.99
Reported by Peter Hasson | Associate Editor | 3:24 PM 07/10/2017
Many journalists reacted breathlessly to a New York Times report on Sunday revealing that President Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., met with a Russian lawyer who indicated she had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
Donald Jr. admitted to the June 2016 meeting — to which he brought campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump adviser Jared Kushner — but downplayed its significance. “Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent,” he wrote on Twitter Monday morning, adding that the meeting “went nowhere” but that he “had to listen.”
Many Trump critics claimed that the NYT report supported the theory that members of the Trump campaign were somehow involved in the Russian government’s hacking of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee.
But Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort’s lone meeting with the Russian lawyer pales when compared to the coordination between Clinton allies and Ukrainian government officials who hoped to see Clinton win the 2016 election.
Politico revealed in January some of the Ukrainian government’s anti-Trump activities during the election.
A veteran DNC operative who previously worked in the Clinton White House, Alexandra Chalupa, worked with Ukrainian government officials and journalists from both Ukraine and America to dig up Russia-related opposition research on Trump and Manafort. She also shared her anti-Trump research with both the DNC and the Clinton campaign, according to the Politico report.
Chalupa met with Ukrainian Ambassador Valeriy Chaly and one of his aides, Oksara Shulyar, at the Ukrainian Embassy in March 2016 to talk about unearthing Paul Manafort’s Russian connections, Chalupa admitted to Politico. Four days later, Trump officially hired Manafort.
“The day after Manafort’s hiring was revealed, she briefed the DNC’s communications staff on Manafort, Trump and their ties to Russia, according to an operative familiar with the situation,” Politico reported.
The Politico report also notes that the DNC encouraged Chalupa to try to arrange an interview with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to talk about Manafort’s ties to the former pro-Russia president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, whom Manafort previously advised.
The embassy declined to arrange the meeting but was nevertheless “helpful,” Chalupa told Politico. “If I asked a question, they would provide guidance, or if there was someone I needed to follow up with,” she said, but added that “There were no documents given, nothing like that.”
Chalupa also told Politico that the Ukrainian embassy worked directly with reporters in uncovering dirt on Manafort and Trump.
Like other DNC staffers, some of Chalupa’s emails were obtained by hackers and published by WikiLeaks. U.S. intelligence services have identified Russia as the culprit behind the hacking of the DNC. In one email released by WikiLeaks, Chalupa told Luis Miranda, then the DNC’s communications director, that she was working with Yahoo News reporter Michael Isikoff and “connected him to the Ukrainians.”
“A lot more coming down the pipe. I spoke to a delegation of 68 investigative journalists from Ukraine last Wednesday at the Library of Congress – the Open World Society’s forum – they put me on the program to speak specifically about Paul Manafort and I invited [Yahoo News reporter] Michael Isikoff whom I’ve been working with for the past few weeks and connected him to the Ukrainians,” Chalupa told Miranda. “More offline tomorrow since there is a big Trump component you and Lauren need to be aware of that will hit in next few weeks and something I’m working on you should be aware of.”
The Open World Leadership Center, which funded Chalupa’s briefing of journalists about Manafort, is a taxpayer-funded congressional agency. A spokeswoman for the center, Maura Shelden, emphasized to Politico that the center is non-partisan and that “our delegations hear from both sides of the aisle, receiving bipartisan information.”
After Trump’s shocking electoral victory, the Ukrainian government told Politico, “We have never worked to research and disseminate damaging information about Donald Trump and Paul Manafort.” But Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian embassy officer, told Politico that he was assigned to work with Chalupa.
“Oksana said that if I had any information, or knew other people who did, then I should contact Chalupa,” said Telizhenko “They were coordinating an investigation with the Hillary team on Paul Manafort with Alexandra Chalupa.”
“Oksana was keeping it all quiet,” Telizhenko said, but added that “the embassy worked very closely with” Chalupa, the DNC operative.
Like the Ukrainian embassy, the DNC distanced itself from Chalupa’s actions when asked by Politico, insisting that she was acting on her own.