Jul 14, 2017

Mueller’s tantalizing new lead on Don Jr. meeting

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

NBC News' Ken Dilanian and Nathasha Lebedeva report this morning: "The Russian lawyer who met with the Trump team after a promise of compromising material on Hillary Clinton was accompanied by a Russian-American lobbyist."

  • They did not name that lobbyist, who they report is a former Soviet counter-intelligence officer. They also add that the lobbyist is suspected of maintaining ties to Russian intelligence, per their sources in U.S. government.
  • "Veselnitskaya acknowledged to NBC News that she was accompanied by at least one other man, though she declined to identify him."
  • Why it matters: Matt Miller, an MSNBC contributor and former Obama Justice Department official, tells Axios' Mike Allen: "This is important: means there is someone [Russia probe special counsel Robert] Mueller can subpoena who is not part of the Trump family/staff to find out what happened. He probably couldn't get his hands on the Russian lawyer, but he can get his hands on this person."

Then the wrinkle: NBC's Hallie Jackson spoke with Trump Jr. lawyer Alan Futerfas.

He told her:

  • "The person was described as a friend of Emin [Agalarov]'s and maybe as a friend of Natalia [Veselnitskaya]'s."
  • "He is a U.S. citizen. He told me specifically he was not working for the Russian government, and in fact laughed when I asked him that question."
  • Futerfas claimed Trump Jr. was not aware of the man's background, although "for the purpose of security or otherwise, the names were reviewed."
  • "I have absolutely no concerns about what was said in that meeting."

Go deeper

Tanker truck appears to plow into Minneapolis protesters

A tanker truck appears to have driven toward protesters during a peaceful demonstration in Minneapolis, video from the scene shows.

Details: The incident happened as thousands gathered the Interstate 35W Bridge across the Mississippi River just before 6 p.m. on Sunday, per CBS Minnesota. Gov. Tim Walz had "ordered highways and interstates to start closing at 5 p.m.," according to the Star Tribune.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Inside Trump's antifa tweet

President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").

U.S. enters 6th day of nationwide protests over George Floyd's killing

A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Protests continued across the country for the sixth day in a row on Sunday, as demonstrators called for justice in response to the deaths of George Floyd, EMT Breonna Taylor, jogger Ahmaud Arbery and countless other black Americans who have suffered at the hands of racism and police brutality.

What's happening: Protestors in D.C. broke one police barricade outside the White House on Sunday evening after reportedly demonstrating for several hours. The atmosphere was still largely peaceful as of 6pm ET.