Trump lawyer met Russian oligarch shortly before inauguration

Trump lawyer met Russian oligarch shortly before inauguration

Andrew Intrater, the CEO of American investment firm Columbus Nova, who is Vekselberg's cousin and was present at the meeting, told The New York Times about what happened at the meeting.

Just weeks before, Russian intelligence agents had used WikiLeaks as a conduit to leak out emails stolen from Hillary Clinton's campaign, which drew significant media coverage during a crucial stretch of the race.

The company said it hired Cohen after the inauguration, but the newly discovered video shows that Vekselberg and Intrater were meeting with Cohen before Trump took office, CNN reported.

An attorney for Cohen did not respond immediately to a request for comment. Intrater hired Cohen with the hopes that he could help connect wealthy GOP donors to Columbus Nova, but ended the contract after seven months.

Intrater told the Times that Vekselberg had no role in the decision to hire Cohen.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents working with special counsel Robert Mueller have questioned Vekselberg about the Columbus Nova payments to Cohen, as well as more than $300,000 in donations from Intrater to Trump's inauguration and the Republican National Committee, sources told the network.

Intrater was also questioned, the sources said.

Mr. Mueller's office has since referred the investigation of Mr. Cohen to the prosecutors in Manhattan.

Trump lawyer met Russian oligarch shortly before inauguration

Among the topics the three men discussed was Vekselberg's desire for better relations between the United States and Russian Federation, the person said, who added that Vekselberg did not encounter Trump or any of his other advisers.

Mr Vekselberg was targeted in April with US Treasury Department sanctions, citing his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Video footage from C-SPAN, which kept a camera feed in the lobby during the transition process, showed Vekselberg and Intrater arriving at Trump Tower on January 9, 2017.

Cohen's deal with Columbus Nova did not work out well for him.

Cohen was introduced to Intrater at a New York City restaurant in fall 2016, according to one source.

Intrater, a US citizen, donated $285,000 to Trump's Inauguration. It's still unclear what information the bureau was seeking.

Several days before the Cohen-Vekselberg meeting, The Washington Post had interviewed Cohen about allegations in a research dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer on behalf of the Clinton campaign that concluded Trump had coordinated with the Russian influence campaign.

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