NBC News exclusively reported early this morning that a former Soviet Union spy who now poses as a pro-Russian lobbyist was also present at the meeting where Trump Jr. solicited damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
The lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, denies any current ties to Russian spy agencies. He accompanied the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by Donald Trump Jr.; Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law; and Paul Manafort, former chairman of the Trump campaign.
The Russian-born American lobbyist served in the Soviet military and emigrated to the U.S., where he holds dual citizenship.
While Akhmetshin publicly denies that he has retained ties to the Kremlin, American officials reportedly believe he does. Furthermore, it appears that he has not actually registered as a foreign lobbyist.
Akhmetshin was named in a letter sent in March by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente. In the letter, Grassley asks whether Akhmetshin, as part of his attempts to bring down the Magnitsky Act, should have registered as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
The Daily Beast also reported this morning that Akhmetshin was once accused of orchestrating a hacking conspiracy to smear a mineral resources company on behalf of a rival Russian oligarch.