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Translator in Trump Jr. meeting ID’d as ex-State Dept. contractor

The translator who attended the June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin is a former State Department contractor, CBS News’ Kylie Atwood has learned. 

The translator has been identified as Anatoli Samochornov, who a State Department spokesperson confirmed has done contract work for them. Samochornov is not a State Department employee, the spokesperson said, but has worked with the State Department’s Office of Language Services as an interpreter. Samochornov also helped the State Department implement exchange programs when he was working for Meridian International, a nonprofit that has a cooperative agreement with the State Department. 

The Meridian contract under which Samochornov worked to support State Department-sponsored exchanges expired at the end of the fiscal year 2016.  

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Anatoli Samochornov, the translator who attended the June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr., a Russian lawyer and a Russian lobbyist.

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At the June 2016 meeting, Samochornov was working as a translator for Veselnitskaya, who reportedly Veselnitskaya does not speak any English.   

A friend of Trump Jr.’s, Rob Goldstone, sent an email to Trump Jr. about Veselnitskaya, promising information from the Russian government on then-candidate Donald Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr.’s brother-in-law and now-presidential adviser Jared Kushner attended as well as campaign adviser Paul Manafort.

On Friday, Goldstone said there were more people at the meeting than initially reported. Among the participants, he told the Associated Press, was lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin. Akhmetshin confirmed his participation to The Associated Press on Friday. 

Akhmetshin served in the Soviet military and is suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence. 

Akhmetshin has worked with Veselnitskaya, who secured the meeting with Trump Jr. on the pretense of providing damaging information about Clinton.

The White House has continued to deal with the fallout from the meeting since its existence was first reported six days ago. CBS News has learned President Trump was briefed about Trump Jr. meeting three days before it was disclosed in the New York Times, though it seems he was not aware there were more people in the room than was first reported. 

Initially, Trump Jr. and Kushner confirmed they attended, but said they discussed a disbanded U.S.-Russian adoption program. On Sunday, Trump Jr. confirmed he had been promised information “helpful to the campaign” and he had asked Manafort and Kushner to “stop by.” Then on Tuesday, Trump Jr. posted to Twitter the emails where he wrote “I love it” after Goldstone wrote a Russian lawyer wanted to pass on negative information about Clinton and stated that the discussion was part of a Russian government effort to help the GOP candidate. 

CBS News has confirmed Kushner has revised his paperwork for a White House security clearance twice. The last revision mentioned Veselnitskaya, though Kushner’s attorney contends that disclosure was not legally required, and that Kushner was not introduced to others at the June 2016 meeting.

Earlier this week, Trump Jr. hired a new lawyer, Alan Futerfas, to handle Russia-related matters. 

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Source: CBS News – Politics

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