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Kathy Willens / AP

This weekend's report that Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner attended a meeting at Trump Tower last June with a Kremlin-linked lawyer who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton was another drip in the ever-expanding Russia story — and it led to Trump Jr. lawyering up for the Russia probe last night.

Looks like he needed it: The story exploded this afternoon when Trump Jr. tweeted the full email chain that led to the meeting, which explicitly called the meeting a "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

Go deeper: From Rob Goldstone to the Agalarovs, the news surrounding this meeting has introduced a whole host of colorful new characters to the Trump-Russia web, many of whom hadn't been mentioned widely in previous reports.

Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer at the Trump Tower meeting

Veselnitskaya is known for her lobbying against the Magnitsky Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2012 and designed to seize the assets of and deny visas to suspected Russian human rights abusers. The law so enraged Russian President Vladimir Putin that he halted the adoption of Russian children by American families. Veselnitskaya told the NYT that she "never acted on behalf of the Russian government," but her anti-Magnitsky campaign is obviously a cause that's deeply personal for Putin.

Rob Goldstone, the music publicist who linked up Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya

Goldstone is a friend of Trump Jr., often involved in the Miss Universe pageant, who claimed to set up the meeting for Veselnitskaya to discuss the adoption issues caused by the Magnitsky Act, per a WaPo report. His social media pages show him interacting with President Trump as far back as 2013 — and include an Instagram of him wearing a shirt that simply says "Russia" just after Trump won the presidency in November.

Emin Agalarov, the Russian pop star who asked Goldstone to set up the meeting

Agalarov is a 37-year-old pop star who became close to Trump following the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Emin has performed at Trump golf courses, received a videotaped birthday message from Trump in 2013, and even got Trump to cameo in one of his music videos, per Forbes' definitive Agalarov profile. He reportedly exchanged text messages with Trump Jr. around the inauguration, inquiring about the potential for new business deals.

Aras Agalarov, Emin's father and a billionaire real estate mogul in Moscow

According to Forbes, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant ended up in the Moscow — hosted at one of the Agalarovs' properties — after Aras and Emin made a concerted effort to reach out to Trump. Aras' bigger goal was a licensing deal with Trump to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, which Emin told Forbes was in the pipeline before Trump announced his campaign, putting the deal on ice.

(Left to right) Donald Trump, Aras Agalarov, Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, Emin Agalarov at Miss USA 2013 pageant.Jeff Bottari / AP

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

4 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.