Russian lobbyist at Trump Tower meeting ‘happy and relieved’ Mueller probe over
Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A Russian lobbyist who attended the infamous 2016 meeting at Trump Tower said he’s “happy and relieved” that special counsel Robert Mueller has finally handed in his report.
“It hit me hard financially and led to baseless personal attacks,” Rinat Akhmetshin told ABC News in a statement. The process took a “heavy toll on me and my family.”
“As a result,” Akhmetshin added, “my ability to earn a living has been impaired, my professional standing has been undermined and my personal relationships have suffered.”
A summary of Mueller’s nearly-two-year-long investigation by Attorney General William Barr said no evidence was found to support the claim Trump’s campaign conspired or colluded with Russian officials to influence the 2016 campaign.
Barr’s letter did mention efforts by Russia to influence the 2016 U.S. election, but Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts.”
Akhmetshin said in his statement that he cooperated with the investigation “at every stage. I met with the investigators, produced documents, and testified truthfully before the grand jury. I did everything they asked of me.”
Mueller’s investigation, which wrapped up last week, included a hard look at the meeting attended by Akhmetshin, Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner in June 2016. That meeting had been arranged by a Russian businessman with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin who’d promised Trump Jr. damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
“Although the process has been an enormous distraction and financial burden,” he added, “I have nothing but respect for the professional and courteous civil servants who treated me with fairness and dignity.”
At the meeting at Trump Tower, Akhmetshin, a Washington-based lobbyist, and Veselnitskaya, the lawyer, were arguing in favor of repealing the Magnitsky Act, a bill signed into law in 2012 to punish the Russian oligarchs and officials allegedly responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after exposing a $230 million corruption plot.
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