Veselnitskaya: No Link Between Trump Jr. Meeting, Searches at Manafort’s House

© REUTERS / Brendan McDermidPaul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, exits following a meeting of Donald Trump's national finance team at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, U.S. (File)
Paul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, exits following a meeting of Donald Trump's national finance team at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, U.S. (File) - Sputnik International
Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya told Sputnik on Friday she did not believe the recent searches in the house of US President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort were related to her meeting with Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. attended by Manafort.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — US media reported on Wednesday that Manafort’s house was searched in late July for tax documents and foreign banking records as part of the inquiry of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, which has been flatly denied by Moscow.

"First of all, who said that the search was related to my meeting? According to the media, special counsel [Mueller] is carrying out an investigation into Manafort’s finance deals. It is also known that [Mueller] is investigating into the alleged interference into the US presidential election. This is his work. I have not heard any statement from Mueller’s team to the media that those actions had any relation to my meeting with the son of the one of several then-[US presidential] Republican candidates," Veselnitskaya said.

The lawyer added that the interest of the media in Manafort’s participation in the meeting is caused by the fact that "at the moment of the meeting he had kept a certain position in Trump’s team."

Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort is surrounded by reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (File) - Sputnik International
FBI Executed Search Warrant at One of Manafort's Homes - Spokesman
"But I do not remember that his name was pronounced at all or even linked to any position. I considered him as an unknown person who was sitting there with a blank expression on his face. I do not have anything else to say. My meeting had no relation to the election," Veselnitskaya pointed out.

US media reported in early July that Manafort had participated in a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya in June 2016. The Russian lawyer had allegedly promised to provide Trump Jr. with compromising information about Trump's then-election rival, Hillary Clinton. The claim has been denied by Veselnitskaya, the White House and the Kremlin.

Veselnitskaya also pointed out that information about the work of the grand jury involved in Mueller’s investigation must not be leaked to the media.

"The grand jury is often engaged in investigations of both the prosecutor’s office and the FBI. However it is a secret part of the investigation. It is preserved by the law and is not subject to disclosure until the open court hearing," Veselnitskaya said.

The lawyer explained that the grand jury works to get evidence of crimes and to decide whether there is basis for indictment.

"This is not what is published in the titles of the tabloid papers, as you can see. This contradicts entirely the essence of the work with the grand jury," Veselnitskaya added.

In this July 11, 2017, photo, Donald Trump Jr. is interviewed by host Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel television program - Sputnik International
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Leaks may occur because "prosecutors and investigators are being cajoled by those interested in the escalation of the conflict with Russia," the lawyer said, adding that former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and UK financier William Browder may be among those individuals.

"From my point of view, it is manipulators and Cold War architects who must become objects of such investigations," Veselnitskaya pointed out.

US media reported that Mueller had impaneled a grand jury to investigate Russia's alleged interference in the election on August 3. US Senator Lindsey Graham said on Friday that Mueller should be held accountable for any leaks coming out of the grand jury process.

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