But interviews and records show that in the months before the meeting, Ms. Veselnitskaya had discussed the allegations with one of Russia’s most powerful officials, the prosecutor general, Yuri Y. Chaika. And the memo she brought with her closely followed a document that Mr. Chaika’s office had given to an American congressman two months earlier, incorporating some paragraphs verbatim.
.. It also suggests that emails from an intermediary to the younger Mr. Trump promising that Ms. Veselnitskaya would arrive with information from Russian prosecutors were rooted at least partly in fact — not mere “puffery,”as the president’s son later said.
.. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia repeated her charges at length last week at an annual conference of Western academics. A state-run television network recently made them the subject of two special reports, featuring interviews with Ms. Veselnitskaya and Mr. Chaika.
The matching messages point to a synchronized information campaign.
.. The memo that Ms. Veselnitskaya brought to the Trump Tower meeting alleged that Ziff Brothers Investments, an American firm, had illegally purchased shares in a Russian company and evaded tens of millions of dollars of Russian taxes. The company was the financial vehicle of three billionaire brothers, two of them major donors to Democratic candidates including Mrs. Clinton. By implication, Ms. Veselnitskaya, said, those political contributions were tainted by “stolen” money.
.. The Ziff brothers had invested in funds managed by William F. Browder, an American-born financier and fierce Kremlin foe. Mr. Browder was the driving force behind a 2012 law passed by Congress imposing sanctions on Russian officials for human rights abuses.
.. Mr. Putin said that American authorities had ignored the allegations against Mr. Browder and his investors because the Ziff brothers were major political donors. “They protect themselves in this way,” he said.
.. In April 2016, Ms. Veselnitskaya teamed with Mr. Chaika’s office to pass the accusations to an American congressional delegation visiting Moscow. An official with the Russian prosecutor general’s office gave a memo detailing the charges — stamped “confidential”— to Representative Dana Rohrabacher
.. Ms. Veselnitskaya handed a nearly identical memo to Representative French Hill, Republican of Arkansas.
.. She asked Aras Agalarov, a well-connected Russian oligarch who knows the Trump family, to help her share her allegations with the Trump campaign, according to Mr. Agalarov’s attorney, Scott Balber.
.. By all accounts, the Trump campaign officials were unimpressed — even baffled — by her 20-minute presentation. “Some D.N.C. donors may have done something in Russia and they didn’t pay taxes,” Donald Trump Jr. said later. “I was, like, ‘What does this have to do with anything?’”
.. by last weekend, she was describing herself as a kind of whistle-blower who was trying to expose American political corruption.
.. Mr. Chaika charged that Mr. Browder and the Ziffs had illegally used “Russian money” to lobby for the sanctions law.
A good indication of whether the trial will go forward as planned is likely to come Thursday afternoon, when Curiel is scheduled to hear arguments on what kinds of evidence and questions will be off limits during the trial.
At the hearing, Curiel is also scheduled to consider whether Trump’s campaign trail statements will be fair game at the trial and whether all references to allegations about his “personal conduct” should be off limits, as his lawyers’ have urged.
.. Trump is not required to be present throughout the trial, although as it stands now he would have to be in the courtroom to testify for his side and the plaintiffs.
.. There are actually two pending federal suits: the one set for trial this month involves Trump University students from California, Florida and New York, addressing claims that the program violated those states’ tough laws against defrauding consumers and the elderly.
The other case is national in scope and invokes a federal racketeering statute.
.. Trump’s lawyers say claims that students would be told Trump’s “secrets” or that he was personally involved in selecting teachers were, at worst, marketing “puffery” not intended to be taken literally.
.. he could simply drop some of the cases he’s filed, like the suits against the restaurateurs. He could forgo his plans to sue his female accusers. And to make the Trump University cases he could do something he has long vowed not to do: swallow his pride and pay up.