November 18, 2017

Trump Tower meeting in 2016 draws more scrutiny

Politics Russia Probe
Trump Russia Probe J. Scott Applewhite/AP

In this Nov. 2, 2017, file photo, Ike Kaveladze, right, who was among those at a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with President Donald Trump's son, leaves the Capitol after being interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Two Russian-American's, lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin and Kaveladze, met in June 2017 over coffee in Moscow where they discussed a meeting they had participated in a year before: a gathering at Trump Tower with President Donald Trumps son, his son-in-law and his then-campaign chairman. The Moscow meeting, which has not been previously disclosed, is now under scrutiny by investigators who want to know why the two men met in the first place and whether there was some effort to get their stories straight about the Trump Tower meeting just weeks before it would become public.

WASHINGTON — Congressional investigators are asking why two men met at Trump Tower with Trump campaign officials in 2016 and met last summer in Moscow to discuss the gathering again.

Three people familiar with the focus of the congressional investigators have discussed aspects of the probe with The Associated Press.

Congressional investigators have questioned both men — lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin and Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer and former Trump business partner.

The Trump Tower meeting included Donald Trump Jr., Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Trump Jr. attended the meeting with the expectation of receiving damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton.

A lawyer for Kaveladze, Scott Balber, denies that the meeting last summer was an effort by the two men to get their stories straight.