It is the meeting everyone is talking about: Donald Trump Junior, his brother-in-law and the chairman of Donald Trump Senior’s election campaign talking to a Russian lawyer who had allegedly offered damaging material about Hillary Clinton.
It was an encounter proposed by a British music publicist and allegedly arranged by an Azerbaijani-Russian businessman, whose pop star son once featured Mr Trump Sr in a music video.
Feeling lost? Here are the key players explained.
Donald Trump Jr
The centre piece of it all is Donald Trump’s eldest son from his first marriage to Ivana, who is now executive vice-president of the Trump Organization.
Here is how it unfolded: he received an email from British music publicist Rob Goldstone promising documents from Russia that would incriminate Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
The meeting with the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was allegedly arranged by Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, whose son Emin is a pop star who was managed for a time by Mr Goldstone (more on all of them later).
One email from Mr Goldstone said the information they had been promised was “obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump”.
Mr Trump Jr’s response to it was: “If it’s what you say I love it”.
The meeting took place in June 2016 at Trump Tower in New York. When news of it emerged, he denied that the meeting had anything to do with the campaign (we explain what he said below).
He then told Fox News Ms Veselnitskaya had provided them with nothing of use and it had only lasted 20 minutes.
Full Trump Jr emails
Four explosive lines in emails
Timeline of denials
Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser
The husband of Ivanka, the president’s eldest daughter, and a long-time adviser to Mr Trump, who played a key role in his campaign.
Despite having no diplomatic credentials, he has found power with Mr Trump at the White House, being tasked with resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also serves as the president’s lead adviser on relations with China, Mexico and Canada.
He has yet to comment on the case.
Who is who in the Trump clan
Paul Manafort, Trump ex-campaign chairman
At the time of the meeting, he was a newcomer to the Trump team, brought in to professionalise the campaign. He quit in August, under fire for his ties to Russian interests and a former Ukrainian president.
He has also not commented on the case. But Politico website, citing an unidentified source close to him, said that Mr Manafort had not read the email exchanges to the end on his phone and that he had not even known who was going to be in the meeting.
Natalia Veselnitskaya, Russian lawyer
Known for her campaign against the Magnitsky Act, which enables the US to withhold visas and freeze financial assets of Russian officials thought to have been involved with human rights violations. In reaction to this controversial act, Russia barred Americans from adopting Russian orphans.
Mr Trump Jr had initially said the discussion of this ban was the subject of their meeting. That was before his email exchange with Mr Goldstone was revealed.
Ms Veselnitskaya was married to a former deputy transportation minister of the Moscow region, the New York Times says. Her clients included state-owned companies and a senior government official’s son, whose company was under investigation in the US when the meeting took place.
Her work and connections had drawn the FBI’s attention, an unnamed former senior law enforcement official was quoted by the Times as saying.
She told the paper: “Nothing at all was discussed about the presidential campaign… I have never acted on behalf of the Russian government and have never discussed any of these matters with any representative of the Russian government.”
Trump-Russia inquiry: How did we get here?
Russian cloud hangs over White House
Rob Goldstone, publicist
The man who set up the meeting.
The publicist has worked closely with world-renowned stars such as Michael Jackson, BB King and Richard Branson. But, despite all of those big names, he was little known to the world until now.
Mr Goldstone’s posts on social media suggest he has spent several days in Russia and Azerbaijan on different trips in recent years, including in the months before last year’s US presidential election.
Media outlets report that shortly after Mr Trump’s win, he posted a picture on his Instagram account in which he wore a T-shirt with “Russia” in big letters on it. The account was made private after the reports emerged.
He is a former journalist – media reports say he used to work in tabloids. Most recently, he managed pop star Emin Agalarov.
He has not commented.
Why is this British guy emailing Trump Jr?
Aras Agalarov, billionaire
Often called the “Donald Trump of Russia”, with an estimated fortune of about $1.9bn (£1.4bn), according to Forbes.
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, he is the owner of Crocus Group, a major Russian property development company, and was Mr Trump’s business partner in taking the Miss Universe competition to Moscow in 2013.
He was also working to partner with Mr Trump in bringing Trump Tower to Russia, a project that never materialised. Crocus, meanwhile, is currently building two stadiums in preparation for the 2018 World Cup hosted by Russia.
Reacting to the news, the billionaire denied any intention to damage Mrs Clinton.
“These are just fantasies! I do not know who invents them and what Hillary Clinton has to do with it. I do not know, I don’t even properly know Rob Goldstone. He worked with Emin, probably, as a manager for a certain period of time, or he may have promoted something in the USA, I don’t know.”
Emin Agalarov, singer
The Baku-born singer is a music star in Russia and Azerbaijan. In 2013, Mr Trump featured in one of his music videos with that year’s Miss Universe contestants – the clip has been watched almost 2m times on YouTube.
In 2006, he married Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev’s daughter, Leyla. The couple had two boys and adopted a girl, but have since divorced.
Mr Goldstone said in the emails that the meeting was set up at the request of the singer. Emin Agalarov has not commented.
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