Lobbyist confirms he was at Trump Tower meeting

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WASHINGTON (AP) Developments on Friday, July 14, about President Donald Trump and the investigation into his campaign’s potential ties to Russia (all times Eastern Daylight Time).

  • 12:05 p.m.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee said reports that a second Russian person was in a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. last summer “adds another deeply disturbing fact about this secret meeting.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Trump Jr.’s shifting explanations “paint a portrait of consistent dissembling and deceit.”

A Russian-American lobbyist said he attended the June 2016 meeting with President Donald Trump’s son. The detail marks another shift in the account of the meeting, which was described as part of a Russian government effort to help the Republican’s White House campaign. Rinat Akhmetshin confirmed his participation to The Associated Press.

Akhmetshin has been reported to have ties to Russian intelligence agencies, though he denies ever working as an intelligence agent.

  • 9:50 a.m.

House Democrats renewed calls for a vote on an independent commission to investigate Russia’s election meddling and ties to the Trump administration.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also said that presidential adviser Jared Kushner’s security clearance should be revoked.

Pelosi and other top House Democrats spoke at a news conference insisting they would try to force votes on the issue on the House floor — although their ability to do so is limited.

“House Democrats are not going to let the Republicans off the hook for their complicity, — They have become enablers of the violations of our Constitution, the attack on the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said.

She added, “House Republicans will have to answer for their actions.”

  • 9:40 a.m.

Donald Trump Jr. did not disclose Akhmetshin’s presence in statements and emails he released on the meeting earlier in the week.

Emails posted by Trump Jr. show that he was told by an associate that the meeting was part of a Russian government effort to help Donald Trump in the election. The associate who helped arrange the meeting told Trump Jr. that the lawyer had damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and current White House senior adviser, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort also attended the meeting.

  • 9:00 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s campaign data and digital director said he would speak with the House intelligence committee later in the month as part of its Russia investigation.

Brad Parscale told The Associated Press he was “unaware of any Russian involvement” in the data and digital operations of Trump’s campaign. He said he will appear voluntarily before the panel.

Rep. Schiff said lawmakers were reviewing whether the campaign worked with Russians in any way, including distributing “fake news.”

Parscale said the campaign “used the exact same digital marketing strategies that are used every day by corporate America.”

Trump’s campaign paid Parscale’s firm more than $90 million to advertise on social media, analyze data and perform other functions.

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