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U.S. Department of Justice
On April 25, 2016, Saunders booked event rooms at the Mayflower to host both the speech
and a VIP reception that was to be held beforehand.619 Saunders understood that the reception at which invitees would have the chance to meet· candidate Trump--would be a small event.620 Saunders decided who would attend by looking at the list ofCNI' s invitees to the speech itself and then choosing a subset for the reception.621CNI's invitees to the reception included Sessions and Kislyak.622 The week before the speech Simes had informed Kislyak that he would be invited to the speech, and that he would have the opportunity to meet Trump.623
When the pre-speech reception began on April 27, a receiving line was quickly organized so that attendees could meet Trump.624 Sessions first stood next to Trump to introduce him to the members of Congress who were in attendance.625 After those members had been introduced, Simes stood next to Trump and introduced him to theCNI invitees in attendance, including Kislyak.626 Simes perceived the introduction to be positive and friendly, but thought it clear that Kislyak and Trump had just met for the first time.627 Kislyak also met Kushner during the pre speech reception. The two shook hands and chatted for a minute or two, during which Kushner recalled Kislyak saying, "we like what your candidate is saying ... it's refreshing."628
Several public reports state that, in addition to speaking to Kushner at the pre-speech reception, Kislyak also met or conversed with Sessions at that time.629 Sessions stated to investigators, however, that he did not remember any such conversation.630 Nor did anyone else affiliated withCNI or the National Interest specifically recall a conversation or meeting between Sessions and Kislyak at the pre-speech reception.631 It appears that, if a conversation occurred at the pre-speech reception, it was a brief one conducted in public view, similar to the exchange between Kushner and Kislyak.
623 Simes 3/8/18 302, at 19-20. 624 Simes 3/8/18 302, at 21. 625 Simes 3/8/18 302, at 21. 626 Simes 3/8/18 302, at 21. 627 Simes 3/8/18 302, at 2 1. 628 Kushner 4/11/18 302, at 4. 629 See, e.g., Ken Dilanian, Did Trump, Kushner, Sessions Have an Undisclosed Meeting With Russian?, NBC News (June 1, 2016); Julia Ioffe, Why Did Jeff Sessions Really Meet With Sergey Kislyak, The Atlantic (June 13, 2017).
630 Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 22. 631 Simes 3/8/18 302, at 21; Saunders 2/15/18 302, at 14, 21; Boyd 1/24/18 302, at 3-4; Heilbrunn 2/1/18 302, at 6; Statement Regarding President Trump's April 27, 2016 Foreign Policy Speech at the Center for the National Interest,CNI (Mar. 8, 2017).
People mentioned on this page:
|Donald Trump||Jared Kushner||Dimitri Simes||Sergey Kislyak||Charles Boyd||Jeff Sessions||Paul Saunders||Jacob Heilbrunn|
Organizations mentioned on this page:
|Center for the National Interest (CNI)|