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A video has emerged of Donald Trump dining in Las Vegas with the British playboy middle man at the centre of the “Russian-dirt” scandal embroiling his eldest son.
The footage was shown on CNN last night – just a day after Donald Trump Jr said in a US TV interview that he kept his father in the dark about his controversial meeting with a Russian lawyer.
In the 2013 video, Mr Trump is seen entertaining two seats down from Rob Goldstone, the publicist and former journalist who contacted the president’s son with the offer of providing “incriminating” documents about Hillary Clinton “and her dealings with Russia”.
Mr Goldstone claimed the information had been obtained by his client, the pop singer Emin Agalarov, who is seated next to Mr Trump in the video.
Agalarov’s father, billionaire property developer Aras Agalarov, is also seen in the film, shot at an event in Las Vegas ahead of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, which the Trump Organization owned and ran.
Mr Goldstone was the broker who set up Mr Trump Jr’s June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya with the promise of “very useful” damaging information about Mrs Clinton. Mr Trump Jr said of the offer: “I love it.”
The President said yesterday that he was unaware of his son’s meeting, claiming he only learned of it a couple of days ago.
‘I didn’t know until a couple of days ago when I heard about this,’ he said.
However in an interview with news agency Reuters Mr Trump also said he did not fault his son for agreeing to the the meeting. He said: “I think many people would have held that meeting.
“It was a 20-minute meeting, I guess, from what I’m hearing. Many people, and many political pros, said everybody would do that.”
The emails are the most concrete evidence yet of the Trump campaign’s link with Russian interests seeking to derail Mrs Clinton’s bid for the White House.
The new video reveals how close Mr Trump was to the Agalarovs, who he reportedly described as “the most powerful people in all of Russia, the richest men in Russia.”
He also apparently said of Russia: ‘It really is a great country. It’s a very powerful country that we have a relationship with, but I would say not a great relationship, and I would say this can certainly help that relationship. I think it’s very important.
‘I have great respect for Russia. And to have the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, in the most important location, the most beautiful building, in your convention center, with such amazing partners, I mean it’s going to be fantastic for detente, or whatever you want to say,’ Trump said. ‘I think it’s a great thing for both countries, and honestly they really wanted it in Russia – badly. … Politically they wanted it.’
There was no immediate comment from the White House last night.
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