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Yury Martyanov / AP

The Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort last June said today that someone approached her about the meeting at Trump Tower, not the other way around.

In an exclusive interview with NBC's Keir Simmons, Natalia Veselnitskaya said she received a phone call and was asked whether she had information on the Clinton campaign's finances: "I never knew who else would be attending the meeting, all I knew was that Donald Trump Jr. wanted to meet with me."

Trump Jr. issued a statement Sunday claiming that he met with Veselnitskaya at the request of an acquaintance from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, and said the attorney promised she had damaging information on the DNC.

Other highlights from the interview:

  • Why did they think you had intel on the DNC? "It's quite possible they were looking for information. They wanted it so badly," said Veselnitskaya.
  • Veselnitskaya denied allegations that she was connected to a Kremlin effort to support Donald Trump's campaign. She also stated that she doesn't, and never has, worked for the Russian government.
  • Purpose of meeting: Veselnitskaya said she was lobbying against U.S. sanctions that she considers unfair.

Go deeper

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Facebook paying up to $14M to settle employment discrimination claims

Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to pay up to $14.25 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against American workers by reserving positions for temporary visa holders, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The settlement represents the largest civil penalty and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.

Report: U.S. Latinos near 50% homeownership rate

Real estate broker Alex Betances sits in front of a home in Reading, Pa. Photo: Ryan McFadden/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Image

Latinos increased their homeownership rate to nearly 50% in 2020, according to a report from a group monitoring U.S. Hispanic wealth creation.

Why it matters: The Hispanic Wealth Project found that the homeownership rate grew despite the lack of diversified financial assets among Latinos and around 15% who still live below the federal poverty line ($26,500 for a family of four).