16:36 GMT +323 June 2018
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    Allegedly Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaks to journalists in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 11, 2017.

    Russian Lawyer Veselnitskaya Crossed US Border Under Special Immigration Parole

    © AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko
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    The US Justice Department under former President Barack Obama allowed Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya into the country under "extraordinary circumstances" without a visa, long before she met with the US president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., media reported, citing court and Justice Department documents and interviews.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to The Hill media outlet, former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch granted Natalia Veselnitskaya special immigration parole to stay in the United States to defend her client, Russian businessman Denis Katsyv. The businessman heads the group of companies Prevezon Holding, and was accused of laundering $230 million that he fraudulently obtained from the Russian Treasury through his luxury real estate holdings in Manhattan. The Justice Department settled the case for a penalty of less than $6 million.

    The office of the US Attorney for New York confirmed that Veselnitskaya was issued a permit to stay in the United States from October 2015 to early January 2016. The Justice Department and the State Department could not immediately explain how she was still in the country in June 2016 to meet with President Trump's son.

    Trump Jr. has been mired in controversy since he released private emails on Tuesday confirming that he agreed to meet with Veselnitskaya during his father's 2016 election campaign. The emails between Trump Jr. and a publicist show that the president's son believed Veselnitskaya was a lawyer for the Kremlin who was offering to provide damaging information about his father's opponent, then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Veselnitskaya did not represent the Russian government. Veselnitskaya, in turn, told NBC News on Tuesday that she never had any ties to the Kremlin or compromising information on Clinton.

    Trump defended his son’s decision to publicize the emails, calling the disclosure "transparent."

    Donald Trump Jr, Natalia Veselnitskaya, United States, Russia
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