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Donald Trump Jr. says he agreed to that meeting last June at the request of an acquaintance from the Miss Universe pageant. The Washington Post says that person was Rob Goldstone. He's a British-born music promoter. Goldstone says he set up the meeting on behalf of a client, a Russian pop singer who's also close to President Trump. NPR's Jim Zarroli explains.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The meeting with the president's son came together through a complex network of connections involving the worlds of politics, global music and international real estate. And the chain of events that led to last year's meeting stretches back to 2012. That's when Donald Trump decided the next Miss Universe pageant, which he owned at the time, would be held in Moscow.
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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Everybody wanted the Miss Universe. We had 18 countries that wanted it. They fought really hard to get it.
ZARROLI: The pageant would take place in Moscow's Crocus City Mall, a giant venue owned by Aras Agalarov. Agalarov was born in Azerbaijan, but he later moved to Russia, where he made a fortune in real estate. Audrey Altstadt is a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
AUDREY ALTSTADT: He's got quite a footprint in Moscow, and Forbes estimates his wealth at $1.3 billion.
ZARROLI: Agalarov and Trump would become, by all appearances, fast friends. They even reportedly discussed building projects, which never got off the ground. Trump also became friendly with Agalarov's son Emin, a well-known Russian pop singer. He even appeared in one of Emin Agalarov's music videos.
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EMIN AGALAROV: (Singing) You can keep the lights on. We can keep tonight going, but we'll still be falling apart.
ZARROLI: In the video, Emin Agalarov is shown daydreaming through a business meeting. He fantasizes about Miss Universe contestants. Then suddenly he's awakened by the man running the meeting, Trump himself.
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TRUMP: Emin, let's get with it. You're always late. You're just another pretty face. I'm really tired of you. You're fired.
ZARROLI: And here is how all this is connected. Emin Agalarov is represented by Rob Goldstone, a British-born music promoter based in New York who is a judge in the Miss Universe contest. Goldstone, who is a colorful character, was once interviewed on NPR's Talk of the Nation about traveling when you're overweight.
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ROB GOLDSTONE: I call myself a fat traveler, but some people hate that word, so we'll use plus-size...
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: OK.
GOLDSTONE: ...And fat. We'll mix it up a bit.
ZARROLI: Goldstone told The Washington Post he arranged the meeting between the Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. at the request of a client who has been identified as Emin Agalarov. But there are still plenty of questions about why the meeting was set up and what really happened there. Goldstone didn't respond to a request for comment. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.
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