A Russian lobbyist who attended the infamous 2016 meeting at Trump Tower said he’s “happy and relieved” that special counsel Robert Mueller has finally handed in his report.
“It hit me hard financially and led to baseless personal attacks,” Rinat Akhmetshin told ABC News in a statement. The process took a “heavy toll on me and my family.”
“As a result,” Akhmetshin added, “my ability to earn a living has been impaired, my professional standing has been undermined and my personal relationships have suffered.”(Alex Wong/Getty Images) Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin arrives at the Capitol for a closed door meeting with the House Intelligence Committee, Nov. 13, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Akhmetshin was reported as one of the people who participated in the June 2016 meeting between Russian lawyer Natalia Veselniskaya and Donald Trump Jr., and other Russian Trump campaign officials.
A summary of Mueller’s nearly-two-year-long investigation by Attorney General William Barr said no evidence was found to support the claim Trump’s campaign conspired or colluded with Russian officials to influence the 2016 campaign.
Barr’s letter did mention efforts by Russia to influence the 2016 U.S. election, but Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts.”
Akhmetshin said in his statement that he cooperated with the investigation “at every stage. I met with the investigators, produced documents, and testified truthfully before the grand jury. I did everything they asked of me.”(ABC News Graphic, AP/Getty Images) The Russian emissaries, a middle man and Trump campaign associates who met at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016.
Mueller’s investigation, which wrapped up last week, included a hard look at the meeting attended by Akhmetshin, Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner in June 2016. That meeting had been arranged by a Russian businessman with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin who’d promised Trump Jr. damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
“Although the process has been an enormous distraction and financial burden,” he added, “I have nothing but respect for the professional and courteous civil servants who treated me with fairness and dignity.”
At the meeting at Trump Tower, Akhmetshin, a Washington-based lobbyist, and Veselnitskaya, the lawyer, were arguing in favor of changing the name of the Magnitsky Act, a bill signed into law in 2012 to punish the Russian oligarchs and officials allegedly responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after exposing a $230 million corruption plot. The two were arguing to examine the version of events that led to his death and the naming of the bill.