Isiyojulikana: Briton aliyeanzisha mkutano wa Mnara wa Trump anakanusha njama za Urusi, akisema ombi lake 'lilikuwa dharau kabisa'
The Briton who set up the infamous Trump Tower meeting has denied being part of a Russian conspiracy, saying his offer of Hillary Clinton dirt before the 2016 election was just “a bit of pure puffery”.
Rob Goldstone, a former Fleet Street journalist turned PR guru, told The Telegraph that his controversial approach to the Trump campaign touting information that would “incriminate” his rival was over-hyped.
Mr Goldstone said he only made the approach on behalf of his client, an Azerbaijani pop star, and deliberately exaggerated an email to Donald Trump’s son Don Jr which made worldwide headlines when discovered.
He also argued he would never have made such a detailed email pitch if involved in some plot, saying: “If you had any inkling that it could turn out to be against the law, I mean, why would you write all of this?”
The episode, which can be heard online from today, focuses on the Briton at the heart of one of the most controversial aspects of the Russia investigation – the Trump-Trump Tower meeting.
The meeting on June 3 2016, some five months before the US election, took place at the then Republican presidential nominee’s office at Trump Tower, New York.
It saw Mr Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and then campaign manager Paul Manafort meet with Mr Goldstone and a group of Russian-linked figures.
Mr Goldstone had requested a meeting a few days earlier by emailing Mr Trump’s son with a message offering dirt on Ms Clinton from the Russians. Donald Jr’s response included the words “if it’s what you say, I love it”.
The 137-word email, once it leaked into the press after Mr Trump’s election, became seen by critics as evidence that the Trump campaign was willing to accept Russia’s help in tilting the election in their candidate’s favour.
Mr Goldstone explained that the meeting request had come from Emin Agalarov, a pop star he represented whose father was a billionaire well connected in Russia, insisting he did not know the details of the information.
He said he deliberately hyped up the email to catch the eye of Don Jr, fearing that failing to set up a meeting would displease his client.
“It was a bit of pure puffery in order to get his attention,” Mr Goldstone told the podcast, claiming he had no reason to believe Russia was weighing in for Mr Trump during the campaign.
He also said the fact he was so explicit in the email and even shared his location at Trump Tower on social media just before the meeting showed he was not acting nefariously.
Mr Goldstone said: “What I would say is, if I really was a part of that, do you not think that perhaps I wouldn’t give away the entire recipe in it [the email]? I said everything in that email.
“Perhaps I would have just said ‘Dear Don, could you call me?’ Maybe I would do that. And then when we had a meeting I checked in for it on Facebook publicly.”
The meeting ultimately failed to produce explosive information which interested the Trump campaign, according to those present and the conclusions of Robert Mueller, the special counsel who investigated Russian election meddling.
A Russian lawyer attending with Mr Goldstone offered information on allegedly questionable donations to Ms Clinton and lobbied against the Magnitsky Act, a US law which sanctioned Russians and was a bugbear for Vladimir Putin, the country’s president.
However the Trump campaign figures attending were uninterested, with messages seen by the Mueller probe showing Mr Kushner emailed assistants trying to get out of the meeting while it was happening.
Mr Mueller ultimately concluded there was no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia and brought no charges over the Trump Tower meeting.
Mr Goldstone said, looking back, he is still shocked at how he found himself at the centre of the controversy over an email he wrote in just three minutes on an iPhone.
“Even today it’s incomprehensible to me that I could have put myself and found myself at the centre of I suppose what is one of the biggest political scandals certainly in American political history and in history”, he said.
“The fact that people have written – and I’m yet to prove otherwise – that I wrote what’s been called the most famous email in history is so shocking to me. And I don’t know how to say it any way other than I didn’t even pay attention to it.”
Makala hii ilichapishwa awali na Telegraph.