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A music publicist with ties to a prominent Russian oligarch has emerged as the man who arranged a meeting last June between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who he said had information about Hillary Clinton that would be incriminating.
Rob Goldstone, president of Oui 2 Entertainment, made headlines in recent days after President Donald Trump's eldest son acknowledged that he met with the Russian lawyer last June. Goldstone, a British-born former journalist with a robust social media presence, confirmed in a statement to NBC News Monday that he had helped facilitate the meeting on behalf of his "client in Moscow," a Russian pop star whose billionaire father, The New York Times reported, is a real estate developer with connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
That meeting could have serious ramifications for the federal probe into whether members of the president's campaign and transition team coordinated with alleged Russian efforts to interfere in the election.
The connection between Goldstone and the Trumps appears to date back to the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, where Goldstone's client, Emin Agalarov, performed. At the time, Trump still co-owned the pageant.
Goldstone himself wrote a Facebook post on June 15, 2013, claiming he met with Donald Trump in Las Vegas.
Donald Trump Jr. said in a statement Tuesday that he “knew” the younger Agalarov from the Moscow Miss Universe.
It’s unclear when the relationship between the Trump family and the Agalarovs first began, but Trump, also in 2013, appeared in a music video for Emin Agalarov that was filmed in Moscow.
Following the pageant, the Agalarovs reached a preliminary deal with Donald Trump for a Trump Tower in Moscow, although the parties never went forward with development after Trump launched his campaign in 2015, the Washington Post reported.
Goldstone’s Facebook profile — which remains public despite his new-found notoriety — reveals him to be a well-traveled man who sports unusual headgear, posing with celebrities (including fashion designer Donna Karan) and checking in with his Facebook followers along the way.
One such public Facebook check-in was at Trump Tower in Manhattan on June 9, 2016 — the day of the meeting he arranged between Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Also in attendance were Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
"Preparing for meeting," Goldstone wrote in the caption.
That stop, however, was just one of dozens from across the world from June 2016 to July 2017. In the past three weeks alone, just before his name would appear on websites and newspaper front pages across the U.S., Goldstone posted photos and videos of himself in Greece, Montenegro, Croatia and Italy, gabbing with friends and comically complaining about church bells.
Goldstone’s Facebook profile also shows he’s regularly shuttled between Moscow, St. Petersburg and Baku, Azerbaijan for years, making stops in all three cities throughout last summer. He also appeared to visit both Trump Tower and Trump International Hotel in February 2017, according to his Facebook check-ins.
Goldstone's profile, however, also reveals a silly side, and features videos of himself "acting out an episode" an old British children's television show called "Andy Pandy" while aboard a cruise ship, trying on wigs in Bangkok and playing with a puppet.
There are also dozens of images of Goldstone wearing various hats.
Goldstone, who has not posted to his account since Sunday, has hired New York attorney Robert Gage, the Washington Post reported. Gage did not immediately respond to questions on Tuesday from NBC News about his client.
The Agalarovs retained Scott Balber of Herbert Smith Freehills, a New York firm, as their attorney, Balber confirmed Tuesday to NBC News.
In a brief statement, Balber said his clients “had no role in Goldstone’s claim that he had information regarding Hillary Clinton.”
On Tuesday, Trump Jr. tweeted the email exchange with Goldstone that led to the meeting alongside a new statement, explaining it was Goldstone who’d been “relating a request from Emin, a person I knew from the 2013 Ms. Universe Pageant near Moscow” for the meeting with Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer.
“The information they suggested they had about Hillary Clinton I thought was Political Opposition Research. I first wanted to just have a phone call but when that didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet,” Trump Jr. said in his statement.
“I decided to take the meeting. The woman, as she has said publicly, was not a government official. And, as we have said, she had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act,” he added.
But the email exchange makes clear that Trump Jr. set up the meeting thinking he would be speaking with a Russian government representative with information meant to boost his father's campaign, and it comes as the Justice Department and two Congressional committees continue to investigate possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," Goldstone wrote Trump Jr. in one email.
Goldstone described the lawyer as working for the Russian government, but she denied that in an exclusive NBC News interview Tuesday.
Veselnitskaya said that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss U.S. sanctions against Russia and that she did not have any information about the Clinton campaign.
"I never had any damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton. It was never my intention to have that," Veselnitskaya said.
President Trump and his aides have repeatedly denied any collusion between the campaign and Russian officials.
Even as news emerged over the weekend that Goldstone had arranged the meeting, he maintained his social media presence, posting a photograph of himself in Greece on Sunday.
“It’s all the green peppers and Greek salad,” he wrote in a post that included a photo from an archaeological site in Athens, pointing to the “Bath-house of the Winds.”
Dozens of Facebook users, noticing that Goldstone has kept his profile public, flocked to his page, taunting him and reminding him of his potential legal troubles.
“Watch what you eat!” one user commented. “Russians are known to poison people when they can compromise their secrets.”
“Sorry to spoil your trip, but I’d lawyer up fast,” another Facebook user wrote on Goldstone's last post. “Robert Mueller will be calling soon.”