Jared Kushner became “agitated” and “infuriate[d]” at the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting when a Kremlin-connected lawyer droned on about U.S. sanctions, instead of delivering on a promise to provide damaging information on Hillary Clinton. That’s according to Rob Goldstone, a British music promoter and friend of the Trumps who helped set up the meeting between Natalia Veselnitskaya and Donald Trump Jr.—and who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Trump Tower confab.
Goldstone’s testimony stands in contrast to what Kushner said in public about the meeting. In a July 2017 statement, Kushner paints himself as bored and confused by Veselnitskaya’s presentation.
"I had no idea why that topic was being raised and quickly determined that my time was not well-spent at this meeting,” he told the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia inquiry, adding that he texted an assistant and asked for a call on his cell phone to excuse himself from the meeting.
But Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee concluded in their final report on Russian interference in the 2016 election that Kushner, along with Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, "had expected to receive—but did not ultimately obtain—derogatory information on candidate Clinton" during the meeting.
Goldstone, for his part, testified that Kushner became visibly angry when Veselnitskaya delivered a lengthy diatribe about U.S. sanctions on Russia and their impact on adoptions—instead of handing over dirt on Clinton.
“After a few minutes of this labored presentation, Jared Kushner, who is sitting next to me, appeared somewhat agitated by this and said, I really have no idea what you're talking about. Could you please focus a bit more and maybe just start again?” Goldstone recalled of the meeting according to hearing transcripts released by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. “And I recall that she began the presentation exactly where she had begun it last time, almost word for word, which seemed, by his body language, to infuriate him even more.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the discrepancy in recollections.
Goldstone told the Judiciary Committee that Aras Agalorov, the father of one of Goldstone’s clients, had met with a “well-connected Russian attorney” who offered “some interesting information that could potentially be damaging regarding funding by Russians to the Democrats and to its candidate, Hillary Clinton.”
In a subsequent email to pitch the Trump campaign on a meeting, Goldstone wrote to Trump Jr. that Russia’s prosecutor general had met with Aras Agalorov and “offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”
Goldstone further promised that it was “obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump helped along by Aras and Emin [Agalarov]." Emin Agalorov, a popular singer in Russia and a client of Goldstone, and his father Aras, a Russian billionaire with connections to the Kremlin, helped set up the Trump Tower meeting with Veselnitskaya.
In his statement on the Trump Tower meeting, Kushner denied knowing any of this—despite being copied on the email chain with the subject line, “Russia - Clinton - private and confidential.” Kushner said his knowledge of the meeting’s topic stemmed from having “quickly reviewed on my iPhone” an email from Donald Trump Jr. inviting him to a meeting scheduled only as “Don Jr.| Jared Kushner."
Goldstone appeared to be chastened by the failure to deliver on his promised Clinton dirt after the meeting and apologized to Donald Trump Jr. “I said to him, Don, I really want to apologize. This was hugely embarrassing. I have no idea what this meeting was actually about,” he told the Senate Russia inquiry.