EXCLUSIVE: Russian pop star who set up notorious Trump Tower meeting tells DailyMailTV it was ‘useless’ and a ‘total joke’ – and offer to ‘incriminate Hillary’ was simply a stunt to get the Trumps’ attention
- Emin Agalarov, known by his first name, is the Russian pop star who set up a meeting in Trump Tower between Trump campaign and a Kremlin-linked lawyer
- Notorious meeting attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort has become part of the Robert Mueller special counsel probe
- Now Emin tells DailyMailTV the offer of information to ‘incriminate Hillary’ from a Russian ‘prosecutor’ was a stunt to get the meeting to happen
- Emin, 38, spoke to DailyMailTV ahead of a five-date North America concert tour and during the recording of a new music video ahead of release of his 11th album
- Billionaire property developer’s son voiced frustration that his recording career had been overshadowed in the U.S. by the Russia-election scandal
- He says his father asked him to set up the meeting and neither he nor Rob Goldstone, the publicist who emailed Don Jr., knew who was involved
- ‘The people that know how the meeting happened, who attended the meeting and what that meeting produced, understood that it’s a total joke,’ he said
- Agalrovs and Trumps had relationship since before 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow which Russian-based family hosted and which Trump attended
- They worked together on a plan for a Trump Tower Moscow, one of a series of plans pursued by the Trumps
The Russian pop star who set up the notorious Trump Tower meeting today speaks out to tell DailyMailTV that it was ‘useless’ and the result of a ‘stunt’ – and said he had not been subpoenaed by Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe.
Emin Agalarov, known in Russia solely by his first name, described the now infamous email to Donald Trump Jr. offering him a meeting to hand over information which would ‘incriminate’ Hillary Clinton as a ‘creative stunt’ designed to get the Trumps’ attention.
And he ridiculed the idea that the Kremlin could interfere in a presidential election.
Emin, 38, spoke exclusively to DailyMailTV ahead of a five-city concert tour of the U.S. and Canada next month and as he prepares to release a new album, his eleventh – and also sold out a concert venue in Moscow Monday to celebrate his birthday with a solo concert.
The interview was during filming of a video for a new song in Moscow – and at a time of intense focus on Donald Trump and his campaign’s links to Russia.
The meeting in June 2016 remains one of the most significant known contacts between the campaign and the Kremlin.
Emin’s request for a meeting resulted in a lawyer with links to the Russian government meeting Trump Jr., Jared Kushner – the president’s son-in-law and White House adviser – and Paul Manafort, who was then Trump’s campaign manager, and is now a convicted felon awaiting sentencing.
Speaking out: Pop star Emin speaks to DailyMailTV ahead of a U.S. concert tour to give his fullest account yet of his role in the notorious Trump Tower meeting – and to voice frustration that his music career is being overshadowed by the half-hour encounter
Pop career: Emin sold out his family’s Crocus concert hall in Moscow Monday to celebrate his birthday with a solo performance
Frustrated: Emin told DailMailTV his music career was overshadowed in the U.S. by the Trump Tower meeting, which he said all those involved in saw as ‘useless’ and ‘ridiculous’
Relationship: Emin Agalarov (right) and his father Aras (center) had built links to the Trumps since before they hosted the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Emin used that relationship to facilitate the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, but says it was ‘useless’
Conduit: Emin asked his British-born impresario Rob Goldstone (circled) to set up a meeting with the Trump campaign, and told DailyMailTV that Goldstone used hyperbole to get the Trumps’ attention, agreeing that it was a ‘stunt’
The interview came as it was revealed that a total of 14 Trump campaign aides and associates were involved in contact from or with Russia during the election, and ahead of the sentencing on Wednesday of Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney and fixer, who has pleaded guilty to tax fraud and lying to Congress.
Emin’s role in the saga has thrust a Russian pop star into the center of a U.S. political drama and made him better known in America, where he spent his teenage and college years, for the Mueller probe than for a music career which has made him highly successful in the former Soviet Union and seen him collaborate with names including Rita Ora, David Foster and Nile Rodgers.
In the course of his DailyMailTV interview Emin offered his most detailed description yet of how he set up the meeting, but declined to go into the detail of whether he has been questioned by the Mueller probe.
Emin described how he used Rob Goldstone, his British-born music impresario, to get the meeting going in an email exchange which has become itself notorious for its offer to ‘incriminate Hillary’ and Donald Trump Jr’s response: ‘I love it.’
Emin and his father, the powerful Azerbaijan-born businessman Aras Agalarov, first met Trump in 2013, ahead of their joint venture hosting the Miss Universe beauty pageant.
‘The first time that I met Mr Donald Trump was in Las Vegas. We flew in for Miss USA, it was his invitation, to sign a contract to host Miss Universe in Moscow.’
Trump greeted the Agalarov family in his typically bombastic style. Emin said: ‘I’ve always liked him. I think he’s very cool.
THE ‘INCRIMINATE HILLARY’ EMAIL AND DON JR’S REPLY
From: Rob Goldstone
To: Donald Trump Jr.
June 3, 2016, 10.36 am
Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.
The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.
This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.
What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?
I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.
‘Incriminate Hillary’: Now Emin Agalarov says the phrase was designed to grab the Trumps’ attention
Key connection: Emin Agalarov used his relationship with the Trumps to engineer the now infamous meeting
From: Donald Trump Jr.
To: Rob Goldstone
June 3, 2016, 10.53am
Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first.
Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.
Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?
‘He came across the hallway and loudly, pointing to my father, said: “This is the richest man in Russia,” which wasn’t true but this was the kind of welcome that he gave my dad.’
It was the start of a relationship which saw the two families deal with each other repeatedly – including an attempt to develop a Trump Tower Moscow together.
Emin said that his father, founder and president of the billion-dollar Crocus Group, asked him to set up a meeting with the Trump team in June 2016.
‘I didn’t ask him why, what or how because he does it all the time. He asks me to arrange meetings,’ he said.
‘We have a huge company, 15,000 people working for us, connections all over the world and offices in many countries. I reached out to Rob and said, “My dad just called me, blah, blah, blah, set up a meeting.”‘
Emin said that he was not acting for the Russian government, ‘as far as I know’.
In June 2016, Emin said he left it up to Goldstone to set up the meeting with the Trump team in whichever way he saw fit.
‘I didn’t ask him to send an email. Every time I’ve come to the States and would want to organize a meeting with Donald Trump, I’d ask Rob to do it.
‘I don’t know what means he used – calls, emails, text messages.
‘I asked him to set up a meeting for some people that were in Russia, with anybody in Trump’s camp – whether it was a family-related person or not, I didn’t care.
‘I told [Rob] that, according to my Dad, these people were in New York for a very short period of time. Try to do it as soon as possible, if it’s possible.
‘[Rob] said okay. And that’s it. Then he told me that the meeting was confirmed or he might’ve said that to confirm the meeting, Don Jr wanted to get a direct message from [me].’
Records have shown that Emin had three phone calls with Don Jr. but the pop star said he did not recall them.
‘I don’t remember if we spoke or not, or I sent him a message or not, but somehow I confirmed that [the message] is from me and if he can please organize a meeting or attend the meeting,’ Emin said.
‘I don’t remember those calls but if they happened, and I do obviously confirm that they could have happened, I would have said the same things I said now: “Don, could you meet some people that are from Russia that have something to offer, to ask, to clarify? If you can, please spare five minutes of your time.”
‘I’m sure if we would’ve spoken, he would have agreed and that’s why the meeting happened. Because if he didn’t agree, obviously there would be no meeting.’
He did not know if Don Jr. discussed the meeting with then presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, he said.
Emin said that he had worked with Goldstone for many years and approved of his often unorthodox but successful methods in getting the job done – and in fact that it had been hugely beneficial to his music career.
‘Rob was a music manager and he was free to do whatever it takes to get things done, in any field,’ the pop star said.
‘That’s how he got me on very important U.S. TV stations to promote my music; how he got me to bring Miss Universe to Russia and perform [at the pageant], which was part of the purpose to host it.
At the meeting: Donald Trump Jr. – seen with his father on Marine One – agreed to the meeting after saying: ‘If it’s what you say I love it.’
At the meeting: Paul Manafort was then Donald Trump’s campaign manager and attended the meeting. He is now awaiting sentence for a string of crimes including money laundering and conspiracy. So too did Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and now White House adviser
Other side: Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was the key Russian in the meeting. Ike Kaveladze was sent by the Agalarovs’ firm as a translator
‘That’s how we’ve done some amazing things because he had a way of doing things, such as this email, to quickly set up a meeting with Donald Trump’s camp which not everybody could do.
‘It was a very creative way of being able to accomplish what is being asked of you.’
He continued: ‘Rob has a beautiful sense of humor, he’s an amazing man. My understanding of the wording is very simple.
‘He knew that it was urgent to set up a meeting. So how do you set up a meeting urgently with Trump’s camp?
‘You tell them it’s highly secret, very important, super quick, we need this urgently.’
Emin noted that Goldstone’s mention in the email of ‘the Crown prosecutor of Russia’ was incorrect, as ‘there’s no such title in Russia’.
Goldstone, whose career began as a British tabloid journalist, has himself said that he used ‘crown prosecutor’ because it as an English legal term for the equivalent of a district attorney or U.S. attorney in his email.
‘He could have written anything in that email and obviously I haven’t specified who these people are to him, because I had no idea who they are,’ Emin said.
‘I could’ve said some important people from Russia also to emphasize the fact that the meeting should have happened.
‘And [Rob] wrote the email that he wrote that has probably become the most famous email in the world now. He just released a book that I’ve read about that email. [Goldstone’s memoir, Pop Stars, Pageants & Presidents: How an Email Trumped My Life was released in September].
‘The book has a great sense of humor. Because you know, the people that are in the inner circle that know how the meeting happened, who attended the meeting and what that meeting produced, understood that it’s a total joke.’
Emin agreed that the email sent by Goldstone to Don Jr. was, most accurately, a ‘stunt’.
‘As far as everybody knows, including myself, that was exactly what it was,’ he said.
The singer said that he didn’t believe Goldstone, as his employee, had gone too far. ‘If that email and Mr Trump would have never become a president, and Rob believed he wouldn’t win, then what’s the risk?’
Eight people have been confirmed at the meeting. From the Trump team, Don Jr; Trump’s son-in-law Kushner and Manafort.
On the Russian side was Goldstone; lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who has acted for the Kremlin; her translator Anatoli Samochornov; Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist and former Soviet counterintelligence officer; and Ike Kaveladze, a US-based senior vice president at Crocus Group.
Emin said: ‘Rob Goldstone attended although he didn’t want to.’
He said that his manager went because he was the only one that the Trump team had met previously.
BILLIONAIRE RUSSIAN POP STAR WAS A NEW JERSEY KID AND ELVIS FANATIC
Emin spent his teens in Tenafly, New Jersey, and graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in New York.
The Elvis-fanatic is the first male Russian pop star to make the crossover to the international mainstream – which he did before the discovery of the Trump Tower meeting made his name huge in Washington D.C.
He performs, singing in both Russian and English, around 100 times a year.
In 2015, he collaborated with Grammy-award winning producer Nile Rodgers on ‘Boomerang’ and toured Europe with British super-group Take That.
Stuck on you: Emin is an Elvis fanatic partly brought up in New Jersey
More recently, he has worked with Rita Ora and last year, filmed a PBS TV special with Canadian musician David Foster, live from Palace Square in St Petersburg in front of an audience of 50,000 people.
The 38-year-old is also VP of his family’s business empire.
His father started in retail and trade fairs, growing the company into a sprawling behemoth which has developed luxury apartments, Crocus City Mall – Moscow’s largest shopping center which also houses a concert hall, hotel and expo center – and two soccer stadiums for this year’s World Cup.
Aras Agalarov received the Order of Honor state medal from Putin in a ceremony at the Kremlin for his work, a sign of his closeness to the Russian president.
‘Irakly Kaveladze, who works for our company, attended as an interpreter because he wasn’t sure if the people attending spoke English.’
The businessman said that he has never met Veselnitskaya and had not heard of her previously, adding: ‘From the press, I understand that she’s some kind of a lawyer.’
Emin, who did not attend the meeting, said Goldstone was very unhappy afterwards.
He said: ‘As far as I know, the meeting was very short. Rob came out, called me and said, ‘I just walked out of the most ridiculous meeting in my life.’
‘I said, “Why would happened?” and [he said], “It was just very stupid that’s all. I was quite embarrassed.”
‘I said, “Well, I guess I’m embarrassed too.”
‘It was the most unproductive and useless meeting in the history of the world because it is so talked about but the fact is that the meeting has not produced anything.
‘If I could have not organized that meeting, I would have not organized it because it was ridiculous.’
Emin said that he never asked about the topics of conversation at the meeting because he ‘didn’t care’.
He said: ‘After all this popped up in the press a few years later as “the secret Russian meeting”, I asked Rob, “What did you guys talk about, what happened?”
‘[Rob] said, “To tell you the truth, I didn’t even understand what they were talking about and nor did the Trump camp.”
‘I think one of the important Trump members walked out of the meeting because he didn’t follow what was happening. Somebody stayed out of courtesy and it lasted for five, ten minutes.
‘I know Rob, he’s always been very honest with me. When he called and said this was the most embarrassing, stupid, unproductive meeting I’ve ever been to, I knew he was telling me the truth.’
Goldstone himself has disclosed that he has spoken at length with Mueller’s investigators.
Emin only declined to answer one question from DailyMailTV: When asked if he had been contacted by Mueller, his team or any members of Congress to testify on the multiple ongoing Russian investigations.
He said: ‘I believe that it’s something being handled by my lawyer and as far as I understood because there’s a legal investigation, I shouldn’t be commenting on these particular questions.’
When asked if he have been offered immunity by Mueller, he replied: ‘Not as far as I know.’
Emin said that he wasn’t concerned about returning to the U.S., his first trip in more than a year, or the suggestion that he may face a subpoena from the special counsel.
‘Even if I do get to an official invitation to comment, just like we’re doing now, there’s nothing I’m hiding,’ he said.
‘There’s nothing wrong in what I’ve done or Rob or anybody considering the meeting as far as I’m concerned.
‘I’ve been happily commenting on these subjects – officially and unofficially.
‘The purpose of my [U.S] trip is my tour. I haven’t been in the States for a year because I’ve been busy touring around Europe and Russia and it’s time to return. There’s a few cities that will have sold-out shows.’
This summer, Emin released a satirical video, for song got Me Good, which featured lookalikes of Trump, Ivanka Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, Kim Jong-un, Stormy Daniels and Hillary Clinton.
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Superstar: Emin is mega-famous in Russia and Azerbaijan, selling out stadiums and having notched up 10 hit albums. He gave DailyMailTV access to the making of his latest music video
Bizarre: In a scene from his latest music video, Emin watches Russian strongmen wrestle in a ring
Eccentric: Emin’s latest video for song, Let Me Go, shows the pop star viewing art exhibitions – including a live horse – before becoming an exhibit himself
Finale: Emin’s latest music video ends with him becoming the exhibit – and covered in paint. The song features on his new album, Good Love, is out early next year
Eccentric: Emin’s latest video for song, Let Me Go, shows the pop star viewing art exhibitions – including a live horse – before becoming an exhibit himself
Inevitably, the video went viral and propelled Emin into interviews with global news and entertainment networks.
Emin rejects the idea that Trump has brought global recognition to his music.
He said: ‘I think it actually took away from my music career because every interview I’ve done, like we’re doing with you, we have not discussed music for one second. It was all Trump-related.
‘It’s harmful to the music obviously because nobody wants to talk about the music if there’s a bigger issue on the horizon.
‘Before this whole Trump situation, I was doing interviews worldwide. The biggest issue I talked about is the music and my songs.
‘Now there’s a bigger issue on the agenda for you journalists and that’s why we don’t talk about music anymore.’
Emin believes that this relationship with Trump has been skewed by the media’s ‘Russian fever’.
Neither he nor his father Aras have been invited to the White House, Emin said.
Emin said: ‘The last time I was in [Trump’s] office was right before he announced that he was going to run.
‘It was a casual [relationship]. When I was in New York and if I have an opportunity and he has a few spare minutes, I’d like to see him because he’s cool.’
Emin says Trump never discussed running for president.
‘I heard it in the press,’ he said. ‘I never bothered to ask him because I think it was a personal question.
‘When he ran for presidency, I was very excited because I thought he really has a chance.’
Emin refused to comment on President Trump’s perspective on Russian meddling in the presidential election but he was clear that he does not believe the general consensus of Congress and the U.S. intelligence community that Russia played a role in influencing the outcome.
‘I don’t think that’s possible and if it would be possible, that would be quite ridiculous,’ Emin said.
‘If Russia can in any way – this is me being apolitical – if anybody in Russia can change the outcome of the election in such a great country as the United States, then there’s a problem. I don’t think that’s possible in any way.
‘I wouldn’t comment where [Trump] comes from, that’s a question for him. But as far as I understand, if America could influence who is our current or next president or who is in charge in China, and we could influence who is in charge in America, then the world would just collapse, I think. I don’t think it works like this.
‘I think people vote and considering the amount of layers those voting papers go through eventually, to choose a president for any country is impossible to influence.
‘It is my firm opinion that I don’t think it is possible.
‘I don’t think it’s possible for any American to make a decision on who he is going to vote for listening to Russian news channel or logging onto Russian Facebook accounts.’
- Tickets for Emin’s concert tour, which begins on January 26, are on sale at http://emin-music.com/tour/ His album Good Love is released in January.
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