Rob Goldstone couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
The music publicist had set up a Trump Tower meeting with three senior members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and a small group of Russians.
He’d helped them get through the door with an attention-grabbing email to Donald Trump Jr., promising the future president’s son that “the Crown Prosecutor of Russia” had information to share that would incriminate Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “and her dealings with Russia.”
But after what Goldstone thought was a mind-numbingly dull presentation and a few vague remarks about Russian fund-raising for Democrats, the Russian attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, switched gears. She stopped talking presidential politics and started talking about U.S.-Russian adoption policies.
“That was one of the most embarrassing meetings I have ever been in – and I set it up,” an apologetic Goldstone recalls telling Trump Jr. when it was over.
The Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016, has fueled suspicions that the Russians meddled in the presidential election that sent Donald Trump to the White House and has been intensely scrutinized by three congressional committees, a federal grand jury and special counsel Robert Mueller.
Based on intelligence reports and everything else that has come out since that meeting, Goldstone told USA Today in an interview that he has no doubt the Russians interfered in some way in the presidential election. But he doesn’t believe the Trump Tower meeting was a part of that effort.
President Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Goldstone is publicly telling his story about the Trump Tower meeting for the first time in advance of the publication of his new book, “Pop Stars, Pageants & Presidents: How An Email Trumped My Life.” The 198-page memoir hits the shelves on Tuesday.
The fallout from the meeting wrecked the life and ended the career of Goldstone, a colorful, witty character who usually moves in the world of pop stars and paparazzi, not that of politicians and presidential campaigns.
“It was devastating,” the British-born Goldstone, 57, said in a two-hour interview last week at the Westin Washington hotel. “Although I’ve been a publicist for some time, I don’t like the limelight. I like being at the center of everything, but from a distance. I like the world of celebrity, but from a distance. I don’t want to be a celebrity.”
The now-infamous Trump Tower meeting wasn’t the first time Goldstone’s name would get tied to controversy involving the man who is now the 45th president.
In 2013, Goldstone was instrumental in bringing Trump to Russia for the Miss Universe pageant and getting him booked into a room at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow. The hotel room would later feature prominently in an unsubstantiated report alleging that, during his stay, Trump had hired prostitutes to urinate on the bed where Barack and Michelle Obama had slept during an official visit to Russia.
Goldstone doesn’t know if that happened but doubts it. He never heard any gossip about urinating prostitutes – and he usually heard all of the pageant gossip, he said.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Michael Collins