Rob Goldstone, a British-born former tabloid reporter and current publicist, has found himself in the middle of one of the biggest scandals of Trump’s presidency thus far. When Donald Trump Jr. sat down with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with reported ties to the Kremlin (ties which Veselnitskaya denies), it was Goldstone who had brokered the encounter.
After The New York Times first reported that the meeting took place, Trump Jr.’s initial statement referred to Goldstone as simply “an acquaintance.” Goldstone, for his part, issued a statement that detailed the meeting in the broadest possible strokes.
Of course, thanks to an email thread between Goldstone and Trump Jr. that the latter tweeted Tuesday, it’s clear that Goldstone likely knew quite a bit more than he first let on. In those June emails, he indicated that the meeting was with a “Russian government attorney,” offering up “information that would incriminate Hillary” Clinton. Both Goldstone and Trump Jr. also failed to mention Goldstone’s years-long relationship with the Trumps, dating at least as far back as 2013. They also neglected to note Goldstone’s close connection to a powerful, Kremlin-connected Russian family.
Goldstone first connected with Donald Trump thanks to Goldstone’s Russian pop star client, Emin Agalarov. Emin’s father, Aras Agalarov, is the president of Crocus Group, a Russian development company that worked with Trump to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. In addition to singing, Emin works as his father’s business partner; the Miss Universe dealings brought him and Goldstone together in the first place.
It’s not hard to see why Goldstone and Trump get along so well. Both are Russia-sympathizing (Goldstone has referred to Moscow as his second home) publicity hounds who like to have a good time. As the son of a real estate mogul himself, Emin fits in nicely.
Rob Goldstone, the Donald Trump Jr. acquaintance who brokered the meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer, the day after the 2016 US election: pic.twitter.com/20bMLUvDiH
— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) July 9, 2017
Through his father, Emin also potentially provides Goldstone with a conduit to the upper echelons of the Kremlin. Goldstone notes that the Russian lawyer’s conversations began with Aras, after all. And the elder Agalarov has a history of close ties to Russian government. In October of 2013, Russia awarded him the Order of Honor, one of the country’s “highest civilian awards.” And when Putin had to cancel his meeting with Trump before the Miss Universe pageant, he sent a note of apology through Aras himself.
While Trump and his circle don’t appear to have directly interacted much with Aras, he certainly has with Goldstone and Emin. What’s more, as a prolific user of Facebook (in addition to being perhaps the only person to ever use Twitter correctly), Goldstone has left a detailed log of his Trump family interactions. That Goldstone, the Agalarovs, and the Trumps know each other comes as no surprise. But the extent of their time together, detailed through Goldstone’s social media history below, makes it all the easier to see just how close the Trumps have been to at least one of the Kremlin’s lackeys.
June 14 – Goldstone has a late night meeting with Trump, presumably to discuss the announcement of the upcoming Miss Universe pageant in Moscow that would come a few days later.
June 15 – Goldstone posts a photo of father-son duo Aras and Emin Agalarov a day before the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas.
June 16 – Goldstone posts a photo of an “amazing dinner” with Trump right before the Miss USA pageant.
June 16 – After the Miss USA pageant, Australian TV host Karl Schmid tags Goldstone in a post-pageant party pic—a party that Trump apparently also attended.
November 8 – Goldstone welcomes Trump to Moscow with dinner at Nobu.
November 9 – Trump holds a press conference with Emin and Aras Agalarov the day of the Miss Universe pageant.
November 9 – At the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, Trump rocks out to Emin.
November 20 – Emin releases a new music video with a large cameo from Donald Trump, filmed while he was in Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant earlier that month.
February 4 – Goldstone snaps a photo of Ivanka Trump meeting with Emin in Moscow to tour his firm’s real estate and entertainment developments.
February 28 – Goldstone posts a photo of Trump shooting a video in Trump’s New York office. Earlier that day he wrote “filming with The Donald this morning.” Goldstone had been in Moscow six days prior.
March 8 – Goldstone posts a photo of Emin posing with Timbaland and Trump at Trump National Doral in Miami at 4:43 pm, just a few hours before Emin took the stage.
March 8 – Goldstone posts a photo of Emin and Ivanka at Trump National Doral at 7:24 pm.
March 16 – Goldstone posts a Bloomberg story that includes a detail about Trump meeting Aras Agalarov to discuss a real estate day: “’The Russian market is attracted to me,’ Trump told Real Estate Weekly. ‘I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.'”
June 9 – Goldstone checks in at Trump Tower before the now-infamous meeting he brokered between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
November 10 – Two days after the election, Goldstone reposts a video that was recorded by Trump two years prior. In it, he wishes Emin Agalarov, Goldstone’s client, a very happy birthday.
February 23 – Goldstone checks into Trump Tower at 2:49 pm.
February 26 – Goldstone checks into the Trump International Hotel at at 12:46 pm.