Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, took notes about “donations” at the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign, NBC News reported on Thursday.
Citing two unnamed sources briefed on “evidence,” NBC News reported that Manafort took notes on a smart phone during the meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a lawyer linked to the Kremlin, that Donald Trump, Jr. had arranged after being promised compromising information on Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign.
Manafort’s notes included the word “donations” close to the abbreviation “RNC,” or Republican National Committee, according to the report, which didn’t provide further context.
Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist who also attended the meeting, told the Associated Press in July that Veselnitskaya presented Trump Jr. and the other attendees at the meeting with documents detailing what she claimed was a flow of illicit funds to the Democratic National Committee.
NBC News previously had reported that Veselnitskaya thinks she attracted the Trump campaign’s interest because she had “details about a company run by a former U.S. citizen” that she believes “didn’t pay taxes in either Russia or the U.S. and may also have made donations to the D.N.C.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the federal probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, is looking into Trump Jr.’s meeting with Veselnitskaya, which the President’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner also attended.
Manafort’s spokesman Jason Maloni told TPM by email that Manafort gave his notes to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“It is 100 percent false to suggest this meeting included any discussion of donations from Russian sources to either the Trump campaign or the Republican Party,” Maloni said. “This speculation and conjecture is pointless and wrong.”
This post has been updated.