Rob Goldstone Continues to Work the Press to Spin His Role in the June 9 Meeting

There’s a really funny line in Rosalind Helderman’s profile of Rob Goldstone in conjunction with the release of his book. First, Helderman comically asserts that Goldstone — who did an interview for a long piece in the British Times that helped witnesses coordinate their stories last November — kept his mouth shut about his testimony.

Goldstone has emerged as a rare independent voice in the Russia story — one of the few witnesses who voluntarily sat with any investigator who asked and, out of courtesy to the process, kept his mouth shut along the way.

Helderman suggests she would know about witnesses who had provided testimony to investigators even if they kept their mouths shut. While it’s true that Helderman gets leaks from places few other journalists do (indeed, it’s one reason I did not share everything I knew with certain investigators, to prevent leaks through her), I’m fairly certain that a pretty significant number of witnesses have managed to stay quiet.

The comment is all the funnier given how the at-times-conflicting-with-the-sworn-record WaPo story ends, with Goldstone falsely claiming that the first time he started thinking of the June 9 meeting again after it happened was when the WaPo called him on July 9 and asked him if he set up the meeting.

Then, he said, he did his best to put the meeting out of his mind — until more than a year later, when the New York Times broke the news of the gathering.

Sitting at lunch at a cafe in Greece the next day, he received a call from a Post reporter, inquiring if he had set up the encounter.

The claim is false on a number of fronts. Goldstone made some efforts (albeit, according to his sworn testimony, reluctantly) to set up a November meeting following up on the June 9 meeting. And he started thinking about the meeting again at least at least as early as June 2, 2017, when Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten reached out to him to learn more details about the meeting that Don Jr was denying ever took place.

Goldstone’s silence on both those details in his WaPo profile puts his actions in much more favorable light than they really were. They hide how substantive the meeting was treated by both sides.

And I find all that pretty amusing given that Goldstone doesn’t name which Post reporter reached out to him in July 2017.

Here’s that story’s byline:

And the reason that’s important is because, at least according to Goldstone on July 9, 2017, his involvement in the meeting got leaked.

His insinuation to Emin Agalarov (in a comment that makes clear he spoke with Helderman, not Hamburger) was that the Trump people had leaked his name to preemptively blame the Agalarov side for misrepresenting the meeting.

Whether or not Goldstone is correct about who leaked his involvement is actually a fairly important detail in the investigation. In any case, the story of the mutual recriminations between the Trumps and Agalarovs really reveals how early both sides realized the meeting was going to cause real problems for the Trumps.

Which is all the more reason for journalists to be honest about where there are and are not leaks.

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

25 replies
  1. pseudonymous in nc says:

    “A Post reporter” is that subset of the View From Nowhere in which bylines simultaneously matter and don’t matter.

    It’s been quite a week for reporting in which the implicit primary record is what sources tell individual journalists — some of it published, some kept in reserve — and not what is in sworn testimony and documentary evidence. It is the privileging of “it’s true that X, Y and Z told me these things!” over “are the things X, Y and Z told me true?” But how dare we question the integrity of that work.

    • Tracy says:

      Right! It does seem like that kind of week!

      Thank you, Marcy, for your reporting!

      And Goldstone was the one who found a way to send DJT a gift (“painting”), I believe? He was defo not as innocent as he makes himself out to be!

  2. Jon b says:

    The trump team asking for “no comment” at this time..Do you think Mcgahn testified to Mueller about the discussions between the lawyers and trump to craft a lie to describe the meeting. Or was that a privileged conversation? If Mueller has the evidence that they purposely misled the American people…is that part of the case of obstruction..To a non lawyer it seems that if what occurred at that meeting was part of a crime …then the White House was obstructing. Thanks for helping us sort out this mess

    • emptywheel says:

      Misleading the public in the press is not evidence of a crime, though it does tell investigators where to look more closely, and this was so heavy handed that it had to raise big alarm bells even before the meeting with Putin.

  3. Mulder says:

    And not to pile on but the link to the new Goldstone profile goes to an article in 2017.

    I continue to devour every post. And continue to be astonished at how many important details you keep track of and share. Thanks!

    • emptywheel says:

      Oh, I think it’s the opposite. I remember things when I read or (especially) write them. I’m horrible with images, and consider myself close to face blind. My spouse makes fun of me because I can’t recognize any actors.

      So one trick of my memory is just writing a ton.

      • Tom in AZ says:

        Thanks for that little tidbit. I have been thinking I should be writing for the same reasons. That, and to fight off becoming a (more) forgetful old dude…

        And, learning to use the phone recorder to at least mention to myself what to write after I am done driving constantly.

  4. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Who’s Goldstone’s lawyer? Not Balber, I think, but Balber’s probably in some kind of info-sharing / story-orchestration arrangement.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m still trying to figure out whether the Agalarovs did end up paying for his lawyer, as they suggested they would.

  5. bmaz says:

    Yeah, agree with this post. Still think Goldstone is giving up important stuff in his world publicity tour. He may be a self serving ass clown (not alone there), and yes he is, but he is still coughing up usable material. I will take that for now. He has also put himself in a much more tenuous place as to being examined and/or re-examined, under oath. I’ll take that too.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      That Post article contains a puzzling line — “With his testimony now complete….”

      There’s no reason another investigator or Congress won’t come calling for more. If the Democrats take the House, he’s bound to be under oath before too long, unless he pulls a Mifsud.

        • emptywheel says:

          That language actually made me wonder whether he had immunity or got a plea deal. Which is part of why I’m interested about timing.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah. But that brings us back to the old Casey Stengel line….”can nobody here play this game”?? I want to scream every time I see supposed “cooperators” and “witnesses” on the TV and in the papers. It is all quite mad.

        • posaune says:

          Reminds me of Mickey Mantle’s testimony to the Senate Anti-Trust Subcommittee Hearing in 1958, following Casey Stengel’s hour:  “My views are just about the same as Casey’s.”  Thanks for the memories, bmaz.

  6. orionATL says:

    the one thing about goldstone is that he is always present where the happening is between the agalarov’s and the trumps – always. it’s not as if the agalarov’s don’t have other employees who speak english and know american ways, specifically ike kaveladze, but from 2013 on, it’s rob g. who is the fixer and go-between where it’s t’s and a’s.

    goldstone too appears open, even naieve, and skeptical of all this political fol-da-rol. yet there he is again in the thick of it.

    i assume he speaks russian, but have never seen that capability mentioned where mr. g is concerned.

  7. Tracy says:

    In other Russia-related news, WaPo reports today that KT McFarland has changed her story on Flynn to OSC:

    I wonder if she is also admitting to the OSC that she spoke w/ DJT about sanctions?

    I also wonder if the timing of this comes about as Manafort is talking, Cohen is talking?…

    And re: Goldstone and timing, it’s interesting that he’s still hunkering down on the “adoptions” tale – wouldn’t he be worried that Manafort is telling the OSC what really happened, to contradict his nonsense? Or maybe he doesn’t care to be caught in a lie since he’s doing his publicity tour not under oath?

    • Bob Conyers says:

      Is it common for prosecutors to let someone reverse such a significant statement, or is there reason to believe KT McFarland is is trading information for a lack of charges?

  8. SaabMadoxSaab says:

    We can be pretty certain that Goldstone’s thoughts returned to the June 9 meeting only five days thereafter, due to the emails he exchanged with Kaveladze on June 14 characterizing a CNN article regarding the Russia-DNC hacks as “eerily weird based on our Trump meeting last week with the Russian lawyers etc[.]”

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