The subject of President Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia during the 2016 presidential election has gotten even more complicated this week. A new theory connecting the Trump family to Russian intelligence, brought to light accidentally by Donald Trump Jr., involves a Russian pop singer with an embarrassing Facebook presence, the Miss Universe pageant, and a strange music video cameo from Trump himself.
Here’s the short version: in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, for purposes unclear. The New York Times reported that Trump Jr. was told he’d get information from the Russians to “incriminate” Hillary Clinton and help his father’s campaign. Trump Jr. has changed his story several times, though on Tuesday, he published the full transcript of the emails leading up to the meeting.
The fateful meeting between Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr., Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner, and campaign boss Paul Manafort, was orchestrated by Rob Goldstone, the president of Russia’s Oui 2 Entertainment. Goldstone was once a tabloid reporter, a line of work President Trump respects.
As NPR reports, Goldstone only set up the meeting because his client, pop star Emin Agalarov, asked him to. Emin is the son of Aras Agalarov, and the father and son met the Trump family in 2013 when the Miss Universe pageant came to Russia. The younger Agalarov even put Trump in one of his music videos, which you can watch above. Trump appears in the final moments of the video and says his Apprentice catch-phrase, “You’re fired!”
In previous years, Agalarov boasted to the American press of his close ties to the Trump family and their businesses, telling Forbes that they were developing plans collaboratively to put a Trump tower in Moscow. When Trump won the presidential election in 2016, the Agalarov family congratulated him, and Trump responded with a hand-written thank you note.
So what now?
The New York Times reports that Trump is reportedly frustrated by these developments, “less over the fact that it had happened, and more because it was yet another story about Russia that had swamped the news cycle.” Twitter has reacted to the news stories by investigating Emin Agalarov and Rob Goldstone’s Facebook social media. It turns out, Goldstone actually checked in via Facebook to meetings that the Trump administration has denied having at all.
Diving into Goldstone’s social media has yielded a lot of interesting non-Trump related information as well, including that he likes “anal” jokes, supports “pussy not war”, and was definitely on Harambe’s side.