An exclusive interview with Natalya Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer who found herself in the epicenter of a “spy scandal” that broke out in the US media after her meeting with Donald Trump Jr. A frank conversation with the head of the News Front agency Konstantin Knyrik, – on the staying in the US, Magnitsky Act, the “spy” scandal, the statement of William Browder, the lie that was invented after the death of Magnitsky and many other things.
Perhaps, one of the most sensational and strange stories about Russian interference in the American elections is the story of a Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya. We talked to Natalya Vladimirovna several times, recorded several interviews and came to the understanding that it’s necessary to make a documentary to describe the whole truth about the situation, the whole truth about the meeting with Trump. This interview is a short one as a preview to the future film.
К.К. – Good afternoon Natalya Vladimirovna, a lot has been written about you in the Western media, a lot of conflicted information. After all, who are you and what did you do in the US? Did you get there legally or illegally?
N.V. – Hello, Konstantin. You can just call me Natalya. Well, first of all, I’ll start with the end. I legally went to the United States, of course. It is difficult to imagine the situation, so that you can somehow violate the US border, flying 30 times to New York by Aeroflot. If there are any options for this, let those people, who say the opposite, tell. In 2015, the State Department on a call from the US Attorney denied a visa to me and my client, our passports for six months were withheld by the US Embassy in Moscow, and later we were forced to apply to the court. And the court ordered, let’s say, asked the US government in the person of the prosecutor’s office to ensure our stay in the country. We were given the so-called nonimmigrant passwords.
A password is a paper issued by the State Department so that a person who is required for some purposes of the State Department, respectively, would be able to the border of the United States. We used these passwords several times, after all, at the beginning of 2016 they were already expired, and upon arrival in Moscow I applied to the embassy for the second time to get a visa. In 2016, I received a visa for three years, using which I traveled there. Therefore, I still do not understand all the insinuations that are now multiplying in mass media, on the Internet. Hence, it is one of the stories that flooded the entire information space about my personality, my name.
I am the lawyer of a particular citizen of the Russian Federation Denis Katsyv, against whom in 2013 the US government, on the application of the former American citizen William Browder, filed a civil suit about the confiscation of his assets that he acquired from 2009 to 2013 in New York, USA. The suit was based on the story of Mr. Browder, and also was represented by him in Congress.
On the basis of Mr. Browder’s story the US Congress passed the act, the so-called act on the supremacy of law named after Sergei Magnitsky in 2012. Back then in 2012 before the act was passed, Mr. Browder wrote a statement against my client. On the day of the filing of the lawsuit even before my client learned about it, the US Department of Justice issued a press
release stating that this was the first case, the case against my client, the case that the United States initiated under the Magnitsky act. That itself is also a lie.
К.К. – Is Magnitsky act a legal issue or a policy?
N.V. – A pure policy. But namely in this case, I would call it a gutter politics. One can not call a good thing what is based solely on mercantile interests, on a cynical attitude to the life and death of a person and on lies for the sake of preserving own freedom, which the people, who initiated this Magnitsky act, obviously realize can easily lose.
К.К. – What were the difficulties your team faced while working within the framework of your client’s case?
N.V. – Well, probably, with … You know, I want to tell that from the legal viewpoint, we had no difficulties at all. Because at the very beginning the claim itself was submitted without verification, without anything at all, so that from a decent point of view it could be called an investigation – it was not done. Therefore, the government had no legal arguments. In addition to anonymous information from Mr. Browder’s people and his own stories. That’s it.
So we were ready to the court from the very beginning and demanded a jury trial. The government, seeing our assertiveness and the desire to go to court and tell what became known to us, each time came up with different pretexts and different reasons why this case was delayed for a long time. And here went off the thing that we came across every time – an information war, this is the first part. And the second part is politics, of course. These two things are absolutely related in America. Absolutely.
К.К. – What motivated your team, in addition to legal methods, to start negotiations with people you wanted to convey the truth about Magnitsky act?
N.V. – Well, because in fact, our opponents themselves pushed us into politics. The Government of the United States, which was represented in our case by the Ministry of Justice and the concrete prosecutor Peter Harar and his office, Paul Mentalione, in court, in any of their statements, in written or judicial debates for three years always stated that this case is a huge deal about how the system of corruption in the Russian Federation operates at the highest political level.
And that our politicians (American politicians) have already sorted it out, adopted Magnitsky act, a list of people, who violated any given norms, is being drafted. The so-called Magnitsky List was being created, which, in fact, is generally a form of cheating of their own people. Not our but American.
The issue, which was up in the air all the way through the whole process, pointed out that, apparently, nobody expects any legal arguments from us. And if our opponents procedurally raise the topic of politics, constantly poked with Magnitsky act, constantly appealed to the story which Mr. Browder told Congress and so on, we naturally began to search, based on
their own directions, other ways of information delivery that it was a global monstrous lie. Which, on the one hand, gave birth to this case against our client – such a small case, it would seem.
But we clearly understood and realized everything that by doing this, through the destiny and life of our client, they wanted to do something more global. And this is the realization of what they exactly wanted to do, namely, to legalize the Browder’s story, which he first told in Congress in 2012 and passed a law against the Russian Federation, rewrote the story – they needed judicial legalization.
Because now I’m… If some time ago I thought that the politicians were misled, now I’m sure it’s not like that. They were not misled. This is a well-planned organized campaign to demonize the political leadership of our country.
К.К. – Whom of prominent politicians, journalists, public figures you met with in addition to the acclaimed meeting with Donald Trump Jr.?
N.V. – The first meeting took place in the spring of 2016 here in Moscow with the head of the Subcommittee of the International Committee of the House of Representatives of the US Congress Dana Rohrabacher. And with the members of his team who accompanied him.
So, we talked with him, I explained what, in fact, happened in our opinion, taking into account the evidence that we have. And I asked only one thing that if it was interesting for the committee, we were ready to come, give testimony, present all the evidence, and that’s it. We would just like to initiate an investigation procedure of these circumstances in the Congress.
At the same time, Dana Rohrabacher was handed over a movie by Andrei Nekrasov. This is a Russian documentalist, who was of this liberal character and was always a very ardent critic of the Kremlin and the current political elite of our country. But in 2013, when he started shooting this movie with Mr. Browder, and for several years while he was shooting, he realized the level of lies that was aggregated by this man for his own personal interests.
As a result, the movie was released in the form which was completely unprofitable for Mr. Browder and his team, after that Nekrasov was attacked. But this movie is really such an explosive wave for understanding what actually happened in this story. As far as I know today, not only Rohrabacher watched this movie. It was watched by many congressmen.
That is why I have every reason to believe today that the bitter war, which is currently being organized in the US Congress, is not just for nothing. These people are well aware that I have something to say in the Congress. Namely for this reason, as I understand it, nobody wants to see me there today. It became clear that without the delivery of the story that we know, without the delivery of this story to the US Congress, the people of the United States, we can not break the general outlook of our procedural opponents – the Justice Department of the United States of America.
And frankly speaking, the things that we’ve learned (they could have been hidden), I considered as my duty to get message across not only for my country, which I actually did, long before any meetings with any representatives of the American political establishment, but also, respectively, I considered it was necessary to tell the same in America. It was impossible to do this via the media, as you understand, for the reason that you were told about already, so we tried to find outlets directly to those people who were interested in hearing the truth in the Congress.
We don’t need anything, we’ve never asked to repeal the law, change Magnitsky act and so on. We’ve never asked for this, we just asked to listen to us, just to listen to the alternative version. And check this version – we didn’t want anything else. But do not let yourself be used by scammers – we consider them as scammers. Not only me, a Russian citizen and a Russian lawyer, was thinking that way. That was the opinion of American lawyers. This was the opinion of the American citizens who worked in our case, and also delved into the bottom of this monstrous lie. We were out of politics, it didn’t matter to them who supported Democrats or Republicans. We were just for the truth, which can not be colored by any political views. Besides Dana Rohrabacher, even honestly, I did not remember the names of other congressmen who attended the meeting here in Moscow. There were two or three persons who have also heard this story.
But why did I remember Dana Rohrabacher? Because this is a person who really was filled with this story, and on May 18 at a hearing in the international committee he even introduced an amendment to remove the name of Magnitsky from one of the bills. And, as a matter of fact, he was severely obstructed by his colleagues in this committee.
At the information level we met with the representatives of the Wall Street Journal and NBC. By the way, most likely, these two outlets were the only ones that tried to cover both the idea and story of the case. At least somehow, let’s say, from the point of having a completely different view on these things. NBC conducted its own investigation of these circumstances and disclosed the results of it on the Internet. Also there were a number of meetings with journalists – these are the journalists who were present at our hearings. They were seeking the commentaries, of course.
And the level of awareness by journalists of what happened in court hit them in the course of the case’s development – the more arguments in the process were spoken, the more it hit them, as far as I could see from their texts. Which moved from the statements of false Browder’s story to the quotation with reference to him. Journalists understood that this story can be told not by them, but only in quotations. Otherwise, they, in turn, can share the fate and responsibility for the dissemination of inaccurate information.
К.К. – A sensational meeting with Donald Trump Jr. Why did you need it, what purpose did you pursue and did you incriminate Hillary Clinton there? In what context the Ziff Brothers Foundation, which finances a Democratic party, was mentioned?
N.V. – In fact, it is the same, exactly the same information that I spoke about with Dana Rohrabacher in Moscow two or three months before the meeting with Donald Trump Jr. I was not looking for a meeting with Donald Trump Jr., I was not looking for a meeting with any of the presidential candidates. Actually, like my colleagues in America, I tried to convey the story that became known to the politicians, congressmen and senators. In one of the meetings … I was going to America because I had another trial process on the case, and I shared this with one of my clients that I have a very complicated and serious case there and most likely can stay quite a long time there as it was difficult to predict the outcome and our lawyers could be disqualified, and so on. My client (not Denis Katsyv) asked what was the problem. I’ve explained the situation that in fact, we were dragged into a big-time politics and we made some attempts to bring the message to the Congress that, most likely, the very act of Magnitsky and the people who initiated it were financially motivated. And they were motivated financially, most likely, at the expense of money that was stolen in our country.
Accordingly there, in the United States of America, after they were transferred, they were not declared, taxes were not paid, in principle, such a “mode of operando” – both here and there.
Everything led to the answer to the main question: why did the United States pass the law? When we began to understand the approximate answers, when we began to understand what was actually happening, me and my colleagues in the US began to look for an opportunity to convey this information not only to the US Department of Justice, but also to the congressmen. And one of the options I was offered, was to meet Donald Trump Jr., who may have ties with one of the Republicans, so that he could introduce me to someone, talk to someone, so that they listened to me, to our American lobbyists and so on. In general, this was discussed, both before the organization of this meeting, and at the meeting itself.
All the stories about Goldstone, who wrote that some kind of meeting between the royal prosecutor and some mediator would take place, has nothing to do with the real events. I came there with the idea and the thought that we’ve talked about. I wrote a paper about it. I handed it over to you, you can publish it However, your American colleagues don’t want to publish it, because it does not fit into the stereotype that is now created around me, my activities there. It clearly describes everything I was talking about and what I asked for. I asked Mr. Donald Trump Jr. for support while telling him the story of Mr. Browder, the lobbying of Magnitsky act, the lie that Mr. Browder and his technologists came up with after the death of Magnitsky, which congressmen accepted without checking, about the reasons why it was taken without verification, about the criminal money that came to New York in 2007, and since 2008 began to be funded into a democratic party. To both Mr. Obama’s election campaigns, by the way, which also could not but exclude that the same money could also be circulated in Ms. Clinton’s fund. Especially, given that if we open the sources of the
United States of America and see the amount of funding – from whom, to which candidates and representatives of which party – we will see there Ziff Brothers, Hermitage Capital, who started investing in the political direction, which they had never done before. Until the money from the Russian Federation has crossed the border of the United States.
And while the Russian Federation has not opened a criminal case on the fact of a criminal offense against those persons who eventually had to bring our bodies to the United States of America. So, during the meeting with Mr. Trump nothing else except what we’ve discussed with Dana Rohrabacher, what my colleagues talked about during the meetings with journalists and with representatives of the Congress and the Senate in the United States, have been told.
And today I don’t know any person who participated in my meetings or meetings with Rinat Akhmetshin, who was officially hired as a lobbyist in 2016 from our side, I don’t know anyone who would say we are lying. They looked at me very carefully and asked: do you have any financial documents confirming that Ziff transferred these stolen money to Hillary? No, where can they come from, it’s not my story at all. As far as I know, our Prosecutor General’s Office has already informed your bodies about these circumstances, so let they investigate who was transferring, who was paid, and so on. I needed support in the Congress at the upcoming hearings that were scheduled for June 14, that is, in five days back then. That I’m going to Washington tomorrow, and if there was any opportunity to talk with one of the congressmen, so that they listened and did not make any kind of aggression out of it.
But I was told: Well, you know, to be honest, now we can not help you, we do not have such ties. On that note the meeting was over.
It was so simply ineffective, that it has just really lost in my memory. I began to recall the details of this meeting only after the Americans unleashed a tough spy thriller on the basis of this ridiculous meeting.
К.К. – Compromising evidence on Hillary Clinton?
N.V. – Well, if by compromising on Hilary Clinton you can call the assumption that she could not even know that her money may be of criminal origin, which is a way of money laundering, if this is called a compromising evidence… In my understanding it is not entirely compromising. This is information that requires verification. This does not mean that Hillary Clinton even knew about it. Here is a big difference between what I said and how someone calls it, you see?
I’ll tell you more: if I had the opportunity, I would bring the same information to Ms. Clinton, I would tell her exactly the same.
In fact, when I was asked … I could not remember, it passed by me – blah blah blah and that’s it.It led to nothing, we did not understand each other, why did we actually meet in principle?
It became clear now, because of these completely incomprehensible Goldstone letters, to which I had no relevance. While I warned Mr. Goldstone in written form that I needed support in the Congress. And asked for his permission to bring Rinat Akhmetshin, who will deal with these issues in the Congress, to the meeting with Mr. Donald Trump Jr.
К.К. – We are preparing a big documentary with you. Tell us about the plot, how the idea was born, why and who needs it in general.
N.V. – Probably, in this situation, it would be more correct to make not such a short interview.
But, frankly, today I understand, I realize that no one in the United States of America is interested in my story. Neither prosecutors, nor FBI, nor politicians.
К.К. – Nor the media.
N.V. – Definitely, because the media is an absolute reflection of political processes. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are interested in the truth. Everyone pursues own goal – to set on to fight each other. I’m very profitable for both sides to be used in this hunt. I think that you are able to do it, able to convey what I know to the people of the United States. If their media and politicians want at all costs to hide this truth.
If I’m not mistaken, Einstein told once – if the facts do not fit the theory, then change the facts. According to this matrix, on this equation the whole story I know is built. And I’m ready to tell it.