Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, in Trump Tower last June, said that she is ready to testify before the U.S. Congress.
She added that the reason she is willing to appear before lawmakers in Washington is to dispel what she called “mass hysteria” regarding the meeting.
The meeting has become the focus of the Russia probe not only because of the clumsy way that the administration and Trump Jr. have allowed information about it to drip out over a period of weeks, but also because it is the first direct evidence that there was any attempted collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The encounter was set up by a string of emails which include bombshell admissions on the part of Russians and the Trump campaign.
Trump Jr. expressed extreme eagerness in accepting the invitation to meet Veselnitskaya, who he was told was a Russian government lawyer who would have damaging information about Hillary Clinton — information which was gathered by the Russian government in its effort to help Donald Trump win the presidency.
The Russian lawyer has since denied that she is a government lawyer, instead noting that she is in private practice. She has also denied that she had any damaging information about Clinton. “I’m ready to clarify the situation behind this mass hysteria — but only through lawyers or testifying in the Senate,” Veselnitskaya said in an interview with Russia’s state television RT on Tuesday.
The Trump administration has developed substantial credibility problems over the past months as it has repeatedly been caught pressing falsehoods on the Russia story as well as various other subjects, even the size of the crowd that appeared in Washington to watch the President’s inauguration.
Russian officials have denied the unanimous conclusion by the U.S. intelligence community that it interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in an effort to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.