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>> A Senate panel on Wednesday pulled back the curtain on a pivotal 2016 meeting between top members of President Trump's campaign, and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.>> I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where the Senate Judiciary Committee has released thousands of pages related to it's probe of that now famous meeting at Trump Tower.
Showing how Trump's team tried to get it's story straight after that meeting became public. Reaching out to several Russians involved to make sure their accounts lined up. Those documents also showing how the Russians including a billionaire with close ties to Vladimir Putin tried to set up a follow up meeting after Trump became President.
Part of an ongoing effort to build closer ties to the Kremlin.>> The June, 2016 meeting has long been viewed as a central piece of the Russia puzzle. Trump's son Donald Jr, music promotor Rob Goldstone, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and now-indicted campaign manager Paul Manafort huddling with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
The testimony shows that Trump's team emerged disappointed that the Russians didn't provide damaging information on Clinton as they had expected. Veselnitskaya last year insisting she wasn't acting on behalf of the Russian government. But more recently acknowledging close ties to the Kremlin. Also revealed Wednesday, Donald Junior said he could not recall whether he had told his father about the June 9th meeting.
Those details emerging as Democrats accused Republicans on the committee of soft-pedaling the investigation, one of several trying to determine whether Trump's campaign worked with Russia to win the White House in 2016. Separately the Senate Intelligence Committee said on Wednesday that it agrees with US Intelligence officials that Russia meddled in the 2016 race, saying quote, the Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself.
That conclusion contrasting with the much criticized House of Representatives investigation that drew no such conclusion. The Trump Tower meeting is also being examined by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of a criminal probe. He's looking into whether Trump, his son, and other aides may have obstructed justice when they tried to come up with an explanation for the meeting in the first place.
The testimony released today is certain to play into his inquiry which still seems far from the finish line.