The Atlantic

The Russian Attorney at the Center of the Trump Jr. Scandal

Who is Natalia Veselnitskaya, and what does she want?
Source: Reuters

Natalia Veselnitskaya has a tendency to appear from out of nowhere and become the center of attention. Before a now-infamous meeting with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower last summer—one that also involved a former Soviet counterintelligence officer and current American citizen and D.C. lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin—Veselnitskaya was a relatively unknown figure, even in Moscow. When her name did find its way into the international news, it was because of her spirited defense of some of Russia’s least defensible actions.

“She’s like tank,” says her friend, the Russian-born film director Andrei Nekrasov. “Maybe she overstepped some bounds when she was there [in New York last June]. But she felt she could do something on behalf of Russia. That’s the kind of person she is. She could get misty-eyed talking about this stuff. She’s a patriot.”

And it was evidently this sense of patriotism that took her from obscure origins as a regional prosecutor in Russia to Trump Tower last summer—and from there to the center of a scandal engulfing the American president.

* * *

Veselnitskaya, 42, once served as a prosecutor in the the Russian journalist Oleg Kashin.

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