Donald Trump Jr. has hired lawyer Alan Futerfas to deal with matters related to the Russia investigation, CBS News has learned.
Trump Jr. said Sunday that he had a June 2016 meeting with Kremlin-linked lawyer, identified as Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had promised him information helpful to the campaign. In a statement, Trump Jr. said the lawyer, who he did not name, made statements that were “vague, ambiguous and made no sense” about ties between Russian funding and the Democratic National Committee.
The meeting was also reportedly attended by President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and campaign strategist Paul Manafort. Trump Jr. confirmed that he asked “Jared and Paul to stop by” and a representative for Kushner confirmed he attended.
Trump Jr. initially said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss a disbanded Russian adoption program. Without indentifying Veselnitskaya by name, Trump Jr. said on Sunday that it “became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along” despite having been promised information helpful to the campaign.
In a statement Monday night, Futerfas called the June 2016 meeting “much ado about nothing.” Futerfas said Ronald Goldman contacted Trump Jr. via email about “information concerning alleged wrongdoing by Democratic Party front runner, Hillary Clinton, in her dealings with Russia.” Futerfas said Trump Jr.’s “takeaway from this communication was that someone had information potentially helpful to the campaign and it was coming from someone he knew.”
Futerfas also said “the woman who attended the meeting was not a government official and had not been a prosecutor since 2001.”
Futerfas, a New York-based lawyer, has represented mob captain Anthony Russo, according to Reuters. He has also handled white-collar crime and cybercrime cases. His LinkedIn page lists his specialties as “traditional and white collar cases, trials and appeals, SEC investigations and regulatory matters.”
According to Reuters, Futerfas once worked for Mr. Trump’s divorce attorney, Jay Goldberg, but Futerfas told Reuters he did not come to Trump Jr. through Goldberg.
Trump Jr. tweeted on Monday “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” and that he is “happy to work” with the Senate intelligence committee.
On Monday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted it was a “very short meeting” and she insisted “there was no collusion” between the White House and Russia.
Trump Jr. said his father was not told about the meeting.