Emin Agalarov, Russian pop star and billionaire friend of President Trump, embarks on a new American tour after the Mueller investigation saga – and questions about his role in organizing the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting – derailed his US shows last year .
The singer, juggling music with his role as vice president of the real estate company of his oligarch father, the Crocus Group, shared his regret about ever setting up the meeting and admitted that it inevitably raised questions for American voters in his first American interview exclusively with DailyMailTV.
“I think it’s all a big misunderstanding. If I rewind everything and didn’t organize that meeting, I would, “Emin said.
‘It should definitely have raised questions, because it is clearly a strange attitude.
“If a Russian political entity wanted to set up something so secret and important, they wouldn’t go through a businessman, an artist, a PR manager or a secretary.
“This would be a little bit [more] nicely done I think. It is clear that if that were the case, it would not be placed in an email. So it was all blown out of proportion.
“This series of events is pretty ridiculous. I mean, I think if President Putin wanted to pass on information to Donald Trump, he would just send a secret agent. “
Emin Agalarov, Russian pop star and billionaire friend of President Trump, embarks on a new American tour after the Mueller investigation saga – and questions about his role in organizing the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting – derailed his US shows last year
Emin and his father, Aras Agalarov, a close ally of President Putin, had more than 50 mentions in Robert Mueller’s report following the investigation into Russian interference in the most recent presidential election. The father and son (pictured with Trump at the Miss Universe Pageant 2013 in Moscow) have a long-term friendship with the Trumps
The core of the investigation was a meeting on 9 June 2016 in Trump Tower in NYC
Emin, who was born in Azerbaijan, is a household name in Russia, where he has released 14 albums since 2006 and plays for tens of thousands of fans, including a crowd of 50,000 in Palace Square, St. Petersburg in 2017.
The 40-year-old plays Thursday in a sold-out show in New York City Hall and has locations to his name in Toronto, Chicago and Los Angeles Good Love World Tour.
But in the US, his name became synonymous with, as he calls it, “Russian fever.”
Emin and his father, Aras Agalarov, a close ally of President Putin, had more than 50 mentions in Robert Mueller’s report following the investigation into Russian interference in the most recent presidential election.
The essence of the investigation was a meeting on 9 June 2016, which Emin organized on behalf of his father, via former publicist, Rob Goldstone, between a Kremlin-affiliated lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, other Russian officials and senior members of the Trump campaign , including Don Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort (since then convicted of financial fraud).
Goldstone mailed Don Jr. that the “prosecutor of Russia”. . . to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would accuse Hillary and her contacts with Russia “as” part of Russia and the government’s support for Mr. Trump. ”
Don Jr. immediately replied that “if it is what you say that I love it,” and arranged the meeting via a series of emails and phone calls, according to the Mueller report.
Goldstone had hoisted a red flag and warned Emin that “nothing good can come out of this,” but for the Russian scion, acting as a mediator between powerful friends was a daily occurrence.
He said: “I organize hundreds of meetings every year for different people I know. Because I am somewhat famous in my own country, I have many requests, “” Oh, you know Mr. De Niro, I want to be an actor, can you join me? You know Mr. Trump, can you send me a meeting? “” [Emin and De Niro are partners in the Moscow franchise of Nobu].
Emin asked his British-born publicist Rob Goldstone (circled) to set up a meeting with the Trump campaign and told DailyMail.com that Goldstone used hyperbole to attract the attention of the Trumps, and agreed that it was a ‘stunt’
Don Jr. (left) immediately replied that “if it is what you say that I love it,” and arranged the meeting via a series of emails and phone calls, according to the Mueller report. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was also involved in the meeting
Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort was also present. Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation accused 34 people and resulted in seven guilty pleas. Manafort has since been convicted of financial fraud
“Sometimes I’ll try. Usually these meetings do not produce results for anyone, but it is out of politeness. [The Trump Tower meeting] was one of those times. No one in our family remembered the meeting until a year later when it broke out in this world of conspiracy.
“For the American people, I absolutely think it was something that should have been questioned, perhaps should have been investigated, but not in terms of spending – I think $ 80 million on this specific investigation, the interrogation by Congress, dozens people must testify. ” [The DOJ reported the Mueller probe cost $32 million].
Goldstone, who said he used his PR skills to “blow up” the email to get Don Jr.’s attention. recalled that once they were in the meeting, Veselnitskaya gave a “thumping” presentation and overtoned on some well-known Russians donating to the Democratic campaign.
The Mueller investigation, which ended in March 2019, concluded: “Based on the facts here, the government could unlikely prove without reasonable doubt that the participants in the meeting on 9 June were generally aware that their behavior was illegal.”
The report took two years to complete and resulted in 34 individuals, including Russian nationals, being charged. Eight have pleaded or sentenced guilty, including five Trump officials or friends.
Separately, a report prepared jointly by the CIA, FBI and NSA concluded that Putin ‘ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election’ was designed to ‘denigrate Secretary Clinton’ and showed a ‘clear preference’ for Trump.
Emin said the Trump Tower meeting made hardly any news in Russia, but his mother, who lives in New Jersey with his sister, sent him news articles.
“My mother would send me a text – you are on the news again. Every day. This is ridiculous, “he said. “Every normal Russian person understands that we cannot influence an American election in any way. It is simply not possible, regardless of how many meetings we can set up. “
The Russia investigation pushed Emin’s name to every news center in the country. It brought the attention that every pop star would dream of, but in this case there were no positive points to take away from it, he said.
Goldstone, who said he used his PR skills to “blow up” the email to get Don Jr.’s attention. recalled that Kremlin lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya (photo) gave a “thumping” presentation once they were in the meeting over some well-known Russians who donate to the Democratic campaign
The Mueller investigation, which ended in March 2019, concluded: “Based on the facts here, the government could unlikely prove without reasonable doubt that the participants in the meeting on 9 June were generally aware that their behavior was illegal”
“I think it was the wrong kind of fame. When you hear the name of a musician in the non-music news, it doesn’t really challenge a person to listen to the songs or watch a video. Yes, the profile is elevated, but in the wrong direction. “
But it has not destroyed its music career and it has had no noticeable effects on Emin’s business interests.
Emin admits: ‘Before the whole Donald Trump thing broke out, I still sold the same shows, between one thousand and two thousand seats. So I can’t say that it has changed anything dramatically. “
However, the Russian investigation led to the pop star canceling his North American tour in 2019, in his opinion a personal cost of half a million dollars in reimbursed tickets.
His lawyer Scott Balber told it NBC last January that although Emin was “happy” to speak to Mueller and congress committees on a voluntary basis, “we don’t want him to be summoned or detained under material evidence or anything else.”
Emin said he spent an unknown time in the US and that the “financial risk” of canceling dozens of tour dates around the world to help the investigation led to his US cancellations.
“Once you get a summons, you have to stay in the United States until the investigation is complete,” he said. “I have allocated two extra weeks to speak to Congress, Mueller, or whoever wanted to ask me questions. I hid nothing and still am not. Mueller was also able to interview my classmates, one of our employees in the US and Rob Goldstone.
“Postponing five shows was better than possibly postponing 50 shows. I didn’t want to do it because it was a sold out tour in most cities. I apologized to my fans and to all people who had bought tickets. “
“Emin was later completely acquitted in the report,” he said official website explains.
What about Rob Goldstone, who sent the much-researched e-mail? Emin said the flamboyant publicist kept his distance because the situation “had hurt his life.”
The Russian investigation led to the pop star canceling his North American tour in 2019, in his opinion a personal cost of half a million dollars in reimbursed tickets
Emin said that spending an unknown amount of time in the US and the “financial risk” of canceling dozens of tour dates around the world to help the investigation led to his US cancellations
“I’m really sorry that Rob got caught up in this issue because it was I who finally called and said,” Rob: “Can you let that happen?” “
“For years I asked Rob to do crazy things and he would do them, within normal reasoning. That is exactly how we have set up Miss Universe in Russia. No matter what. And we did it. “
In 2018 Goldstone published a book, “Pop stars, Pageants & Presidents: How an Email Trumped My Life.” Emin has read Rob’s book but does not intend to publish his own book.
‘I don’t find the subject interesting enough. If I were to write a book, I would get better stories, “he joked.
“As Rob wrote in the book when he came out of the book [Trump Tower] meeting, he called and said it was the most ridiculous, pointless meeting [he had] ever attended.
“For me it was like wasting everyone’s time. We have forgotten. “
Goldstone offered to testify before the federal grand jury and congress committees. He told it later USA today he was impressed by Mueller’s team because “they seemed to have no other agenda than to know the truth.”
Emin sees it a little differently and says: “Well, I think that should have been their goal – no agenda other than finding out the truth.
“I think that was exactly what the research was for. Although, in my personal opinion, I think the truth they were looking for was meant to hurt the president.
“In my opinion, the truth has never really existed, because neither I nor Rob Goldstone or members of my family have ever tried to influence the American elections or participate in this process in any way.
“First of all, we are completely apolitical. I knew Mr. Trump before he became president. We spent a few days together in Russia and I visited him in America. I know the whole thing [Trump] family.’
After his American shows, Emin goes on to 20 dates in Russia and then in Europe. “We may be doing 80 to 100 shows this year,” Emin said. “Every show is special. New York is always special to me because I grew up here ‘
“Trump is one of the coolest, prettiest, most successful business people and entertainers. He is a very good person with a good heart, who means good to everyone and this was before he was president.
‘What’s not nice about him? The fact that we were accused in a strange twist or angle in that regard was just a shame. “
After his American shows, Emin goes on to 20 dates in Russia and then in Europe. “We may be doing 80 to 100 shows this year,” Emin said. “Every show is special. Even if you perform in the same city, a different location sometimes gives you a different atmosphere. New York is always special to me because I grew up here. “
His latest album in English, Good love, was in the making for three years.
‘With every album I try to get myself out of my comfort zone. I write a lot and work together with great producers and songwriters. The album Good Love is super special. I have released a number of albums over the past decade, so this tour collects the best of what I have. “
Emin said the following is a Christmas album in the making. “We thought it would be cool to make an album with a classic sound. We would record two or three original songs and choose some of the best ballads I have and rearrange them. “
Emin, whose musical heroes are Elvis, Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra, has a catalog with Michael Bublé-like crooning ballads to cheer on Europop. He hints that his upcoming shows, in which he performs with a 50-member band, will show special guests. He previously performed with Grammy winner David Foster and Chic legend Nile Rogers.
“David is an absolute legend. He has been a very good friend and I am excited to see him in LA. Maybe I will let him do something. We shall see, “he said.
Emin would not be drawn by speculation about the mysterious owner of the country house on Vancouver Island, where Prince Harry and Meghan have nestled since Thanksgiving.
Foster told DailyMail.com in January that he had connected the former Royals with the owner to arrange their stay. It led to speculation that the owner could be good friend Emin, which he has denied.
“I really have no idea, but I could probably find out easily,” Emin said. “It’s another mystery. You could connect it to the next US presidential election, and David Foster will be the secret spy in the next one, “he joked.
Emin would not be drawn by speculation about the mysterious owner of the country house on Vancouver Island, where Prince Harry and Meghan have nestled since Thanksgiving. Emin’s close friend, David Foster, told DailyMail.com in January that he had connected the former princes with the owner to arrange their stay
“I really have no idea, but I could probably find out easily,” Emin said. “It’s another mystery. You could connect it to the next US presidential election and in the next David Foster will be the secret spy, “he joked
Although eager to go beyond the Russian investigation, Emin has not resisted moments to cash in on the fame, in a movement that could be torn from Trump’s playbook.
He is making a documentary that he hopes will be picked up by Netflix or a similar outlet – and he says the film will not shy away from his Trump family connection.
Emin went to school in Tenafly, New Jersey, where he had a love for American music as a teenager. He went to Mary Mount Manhattan College and started his first company.
“[The filmmakers] have been with me for over a year now and film the whole story, everything that has to do with Donald Trump, the Russian fever, on tour in Russia and my company.
‘Yesterday I took the film crew to the old restaurant where I went and to high school. It was like traveling 20 years ago. “
Emin was the “first person to ever persuade Donald Trump to appear in a video clip” [In Another Life] to be website notes where the president has delivered his famous student line “You’re Fired.”
And in the midst of the Mueller investigation, the singer released a video for the song Got me right, with imitators from President Trump, Ivanka, Hillary Clinton, Stormy Daniels, Kim Jong Un and Mark Zuckerberg.
It was called “geopolitical trolls” by the Washington Post and played on accusations from the unsubstantiated file ex-MI6 spy Christopher Steele that Trump had engaged prostitutes to perform “golden showers” (pee) for him on the bed where the Obamas once slept during a state trip in a hotel in Moscow.
Emin said: ‘We really enjoyed making it. When it came out, it received a lot of attention. I don’t know if the Trump family saw it, but if they did, and especially Mr. Trump, I’m sure it put a smile on his face. It was a period in my life that the pages turned and now we are back to music. “
Emin’s father Aras Agalarov and Donald Trump in 2013
The trip to America is also an opportunity to promote his business interests. Emin has incorporated a Zhara company – which means “heat” in Russian – into a brand that includes a radio station, music TV channel, production company, award ceremonies and an energy drink.
‘It started with a big festival that takes place in my home country in Azerbaijan, 250 acts perform during five days. It is actually the entire Russian show business. We take the festival to many different countries – Monaco, Düsseldorf, Sochi, and before 2021 we are now in talks to bring it to the United States. “
Another ambition is to create a Russian music festival on American soil. “We are debating between Madison Square Garden and a cruise ship in the Caribbean where we can stay for a week. We would have 20 acts that perform every night. “
His rearranged American tour has not been without hiccups. Last year, two locations refused to receive him. “I think they gave my management a reason. It was something like “controversial participation in the American elections.”
“I think it’s something for them. I find it rather stupid because I have two locations in Russia and I don’t think we ever refused an artist because he was reportedly involved or even involved in anything. Because music is about freedom. “
But the lasting effects of organizing the Trump Tower meeting have made Emin cautious about doing favors for others, especially since he claims it was the case here, when it had no benefit for him or his father, Aras.
‘At the time it just seemed so unrealistic that this was [meeting] would ever have a possible meaning, “said Emin. “But I think that everything in life is potentially a big meeting. So you have to be very careful.
Emin now has no contact with the Trumps for fear of putting them in a difficult position – a dramatic change for the real estate families who had discussed the development of a joint housing project in Moscow six years ago
He added: “There was no advantage. The biggest disadvantage, apart from the research and the entire news outbreak, is the fact that we no longer have a relationship with a Trump family. “
Emin now has no contact with the Trumps for fear of putting them in a difficult position – a dramatic change for the real estate families who had discussed the development of a joint housing project in Moscow six years ago.
“If this whole news situation had not happened, I might have been Don Jr. or invite Ivanka to one of the shows.
“As soon as he has finished his presidency, which I hope will be in five years from now, I would like to call him and congratulate him on all the good things he has done and would like to do business with him at any time. “
He is convinced that Trump will win a second term. “I think he was a fantastic president. Unemployment is the slowest, the economy is booming. The stock market is fantastic.
“I think with all the negativity we’ve seen in the press, all the fake news, he’s still succeeded.”
Emin says he followed “a part” of the charges, but it was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who tore the president’s speech after his State of the Union speech that left the biggest impression. “I have seen the lady tear his speech, which is a bit strange because it is public. Even if you don’t respect your president and don’t like it, you have to respect the system and the country.
“It all works to Donald Trump’s advantage because it looks good to him and others don’t.”
When asked if he was wrong to withhold military help from Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate a political rival Joe Biden, Emin replied: “I do not have enough information on that subject, but I do know there is a phone call That was somewhat announced.
“[Trump] probably had his reasons. I do not think that there are many presidents who are under the microscope as he is, because I am sure that President Putin also speaks with other presidents. We never know what the conversation is about.
“I’m sure George Bush spoke to many presidents in his day. Have we ever looked at the details of those specific conversations? No.
“Trump is besieged all the time. And that is quite difficult for every president because you are always exposed. But if you are studying and everyone is looking for your next possible stumbling block, it is difficult to become president and he has succeeded. “
Emin’s involvement in the Mueller report has done nothing to encourage him to go into politics, but he is far from certain that this is not in his future.
“I saw one of Donald Trump’s interviews from the 1980s when he was asked that question. And his answer was also that he was not interested and now looks at him, he is president.
“Maybe things will change in 40 years. But it’s a hard task and a lot of responsibility, a lack of freedom and all the things that I like about my life. I don’t want to sacrifice because I’m president, because it doesn’t look nice. ”