There was an effort to get Putin to meet Trump in 2015: report

The British promoter who helped Trump Jr. meet a Kremlin-connected lawyer tried to introduce Trump to Putin

By Matthew Rozsa

Published December 15, 2017 10:35AM (EST)

 (Getty/Justin Sullivan)
(Getty/Justin Sullivan)

The same music promoter who introduced Donald Trump Jr. to a Kremlin-connected lawyer with the promise that she dirt on Hillary Clinton apparently tried to introduce the future president himself to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

In July 2015 Rob Goldstone, a music promoter who represented Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, suggested by email that Agalarov could arrange for Trump to meet with Putin, according to The Washington Post. The email, which was sent to Trump's longtime personal assistant Rhona Graff, specifically suggested that "maybe he would welcome a meeting with President Putin."

Although Agalarov's attorney Scott Balber acknowledged that his client had asked Goldstone to invite Trump to a party held by his father, Moscow developer Aras Agalarov, he said he did not know of any attempt at connecting Trump with Putin.

"It is certainly not the case that Emin Agalarov can arrange a meeting with Vladi­mir Putin for anybody," Balber told the Post.

Trump has been financially involved with the Agalarovs since 2013, when they licensed the Miss Universe pageant at the time that he owned it. Trump hosted the pageant in Moscow that year and even appeared in a music video for Emin Agalarov. Although Aras Agalarov had talked with Trump about a possible real estate development deal in Moscow, no projects ultimately came to fruition.

Goldstone's most infamous effort to help the Trump camp develop connections in Russia occurred roughly one year later. In the summer of 2016, Goldstone successfully convinced Donald Trump Jr., campaign manager Paul Manafort and son-in-law Jared Kushner meet with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who claimed to have information that could damage Clinton's campaign.

Despite the ongoing controversy surrounding Trump's connections to Russia, the president has continued to cultivate an obsequious relationship with the Russian dictator. On Thursday he took the initiative to call Putin and thank him for "acknowledging America's strong economic performance," according to the Associated Press. This came after Putin had criticized the Trump-Russia investigation as "incapacitating the president and showing a lack of respect to voters who cast their ballots for him" and praised Trump for "some fairly serious achievements."

He added that the health of the American stock market "indicates the confidence of investors in the American economy. This indicates they have confidence in what President Trump is doing in this sphere. With all due respect to those in opposition to President Trump in the United States, these are objective factors.'"

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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