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Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 07:31 PM

Updated: Thursday, July 13, 2017 07:31 PM

Obama Administration Granted Russian Attorney Special Type Of "Parole" After Being Denied Visa

The Obama administration granted the Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr. last June a special type of “parole” to be in the United States after she initially was denied a visa, Fox News has confirmed – though it remains unclear whether she had permission to be in the country when she attended the Trump Tower session.

That meeting has, in the last week, caused massive headaches for the Trump White House, with the revelation that an intermediary told the president's son the attorney had dirt on Hillary Clinton, supposedly as part of the Russian government's bid to help his dad.

But as lawmakers from both parties are scrutinizing the Trump family over the contacts, one powerful senator is pressing to find out how attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya was in the country at all.

Well before the June 9, 2016, meeting, she was denied a visa to enter the U.S. in 2015, according to court filings first reported by the Daily Beast. She was granted a “parole” to be in the country from October 2015 through early January 2016. However, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York told Fox News on Thursday that their office did not extend that status.

“She was not granted a second parole by our office,” office spokesman James Margolin told Fox News in an email. “Her case-related immigration parole ended early in 2016, and it was not renewed by us.”

Veselnitskaya’s Facebook posts and documented meetings show that she remained in the United States well after her initial parole expired in early January 2016. This includes photos of New York City’s Columbus Circle well into February, raising questions as to how she was allowed to be in the country at that time -- and for her meeting with Trump Jr. as well as a trip to Washington, D.C. days after. Campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner also attended that meeting.

“She shouldn’t have been in the country,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday. “I think the lady Russian lawyer that was there in that meeting, I’ve written to [The State Department and Department of Homeland Security] to find out what she was doing in the country when presumably either her visa or parole expired.”

A spokesman for the Senate Judiciary Committee told Fox News that they had yet to receive a response.

The State Department did not confirm or deny that Veselnitskaya even applied for a visa, but told Fox News that the department is prohibited by the Immigration and Nationality Act from discussing individual visa cases. The State Department did, however, tell Fox News that all visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.










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