Why Hasn't Mueller Questioned Natalia Veselnitskaya?
Veselnitskaya was, and still is, after all, the poster child for Russian collusion, whose 20-minute meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. was to be the deathblow to the Trump administration. Yet, by her account, she has yet to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller:
A Russian lawyer who discussed sanctions with Donald Trump Jr. in New York during his father's 2016 campaign for the US presidency said Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller has not contacted her and she thinks he isn't interested in finding the truth.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Natalia Veselnitskaya also detailed her recent meeting in Berlin with the US Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US election as well.
Veselnitskaya met with Donald Trump Jr., the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort in June 2016 after Trump Jr. was told she could provide potentially incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.
Interestingly, it was Manafort's home, hotel, and office that were raided at the behest of Mueller, whose team admitted in a court filing that the Veselnitskaya meeting was a motive for the Manafort raid:
A new court filing by Robert Mueller's Special Counsel confirms that Paul Manafort was raided by the FBI to look for documents relating to the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 with Russian lobbyists, which was brokered by Donald Trump Jr. ...
According to the latest court filing by the Mueller inquiry, which is defending a warrant attached to a raid on Manafort's home in July 2017, part of what the FBI were hunting for were "communications, records, documents, and other files involving any of the attendees of the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower[.]
If Mueller was looking for dirt on that meeting, why hasn't he interviewed the reason for the meeting? Veselnitskaya has the idea that Mueller is not really working to get the truth about Russian collusion:
The apparent lack of interest shown by Mueller's team in her testimony could be a sign the special counsel is not eager to find out what happened, Veselnitskaya told the AP in the interview in downtown Moscow.
"If Mueller's team is not working to discover the truth, they will never question me," she said.
Indeed, Mueller's indictments so far have had nothing to with Russian collusion, but seem more in line with his witch hunt against President Trump himself, hoping to squeeze lower-echelon Trumpers to flip on his main target. That, of course, assumes there's a there there.
Perhaps Mueller knows there's no there there, particularly regarding the Steele dossier used to fraudulently obtain FISA warrants to spy on Team Trump. It is a view shared by Veselnitskaya:
Veselnitskaya's said the Berlin interview also focused on information in memos compiled by a former British spy whose work was funded by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton's campaign. The dossier contains numerous allegations of Russian ties to Trump, his associates and the Trump campaign.
Veselnitskaya dismissed the dossier as "absolute nonsense."
In a bit of irony, the lawyer with whom Donald Trump, Jr. was allegedly colluding, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was allowed to be in this country by the Obama administration and its attorney general, Loretta Lynch. Natalia may have overstayed her visa and at the time of the meeting may have been, dare we say it, an illegal alien. Extreme vetting, anyone? As reported by Fox News Politics:
The Obama administration granted the Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr. last June a special type of "parole" to be in the United States after she initially was denied a visa, Fox News has confirmed – though it remains unclear whether she had permission to be in the country when she attended the Trump Tower session[.] ...
Well before the June 9, 2016, meeting, she was denied a visa to enter the U.S. in 2015, according to court filings first reported by the Daily Beast. She was granted a "parole" to be in the country from October 2015 through early January 2016. However, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York told Fox News on Thursday that their office did not extend that status.
"She was not granted a second parole by our office," office spokesman James Margolin told Fox News in an email. "Her case-related immigration parole ended early in 2016, and it was not renewed by us." ...
"She shouldn't have been in the country," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday. "I think the lady Russian lawyer that was there in that meeting, I've written to [the State Department and Department of Homeland Security] to find out what she was doing in the country when presumably either her visa or parole expired."
Maybe the Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton campaign were colluding with the Russians to let her in and let her stay to set up Team Trump? Why was she allowed in the country? Why was she allowed to overstay her welcome or "parole"? Media curiosity about the meeting apparently has its limits.
Some, such as Mark Steyn, have approached the meeting with the trivial pursuit it deserves:
Author and commentator Mark Steyn dismissed the notion that Russian President Vladimir Putin was pulling the strings behind the meeting of Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer.
"The guy [whom Trump Jr.] is colluding with is a washed-up pop music publicist for John Denver in the 1980s," Steyn, a "Rush Limbaugh Show" guest host, said.
Steyn said Robert Goldstone, who he said is now a publicist for a pop star in Azerbaijan, would never be someone Putin would confide in to collude with the Trumps.
The fact that Veselnitskaya has not been interviewed seems to confirm that the meeting was a nothingburger, a failed attempt to set up Team Trump by the same Obama acolytes who arranged for the Steele dossier to be compiled and used by one political party, in collusion with Obama's FBI and DoJ, against another.
Then again, the entire Mueller investigation has proven to be a nothingburger, proving that there was no Trump-Russia collusion, but plenty between Trump's opponents and Russia.
As Veselnitskaya notes, Mueller is not interested in the truth. Perhaps Mueller knows the truth, but admitting it would force him to shut down his witch hunt.
Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.