The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday released a page of mysterious notes that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort jotted down during a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer.
The notes were part of some 1,800 pages of documents and transcripts of interviews with several of the meetings’ attendees, including Donald Trump Jr., publicist Rod Goldstone, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, translator Anatoli Samochornov, and Russian executive Ike Kavedladze.
Trump Jr. initially agreed to the meeting because Goldstone said Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya had “dirt” on Trump’s opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. But when they had the meeting at Trump Tower, Veselnitskaya just ended up talking about Russian adoptions.
Manafort had first given over his notes to the Senate Intelligence Committee last July when he appeared before them to testify. He has since been indicted by the special counsel Robert Mueller on charges including money laundering, tax-fraud, and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
On Wednesday, the committee released them to the public.
Here’s what Manafort typed on his iPhone:
Here’s what some of the notes could mean:
William Browder is a British citizen who is responsible for the 2012 Magnitsky Act that imposed sanctions that punished Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses.
Browder was once the largest foreign investor in Russia, until he became a prominent Russia critic — he had retained the lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who later died in a Moscow prison after being allegedly mistreated and denied medical care.
‘Offshore – Cyprus’
According to Glenn Simpson’s August 2017 testimony, the cofounder of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, “Cyprus Offshore” likely referred to Browder’s hedge fund’s practice of setting up companies in Cyprus “to engage in inward investment into Russia … which is a common structure, both partially for tax reasons but also to have entities outside of Russia, you know, managing specific investments.”
It’s unclear what precisely “illici” refers to, but some have speculated that it was a typo for “illicit.”
‘Browder hired Joanna Glover’
Simpson said he believed this note was a mistaken reference to Juleanna Glover, a Republican lobbyist who worked on the Magnitsky Act.
‘Tied into Cheney’
This is likely a reference to Glover’s previous position as an aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
‘Russian adoption by American families’
The adoption issue refers to a ban on Americans adopting Russian children as a retaliatory measure for passing the Magnitsky Act. The Russians accused Americans of violating the human rights of Russians after an adopted Russian child died in a hot car in Virginia in 2008.
The other notes
The remaining notes — “133m shares,” “Companies,” “Not invest – loan,” “Value in Cyprus as inter,” and “Active sponsors of RNC” — remain unclear.
Natasha Bertrand contributed reporting.