Donald Trump Jr. Received Email Outlining Russian Effort to Help Father's Campaign
The New York Times' blockbuster revelation came after days of shifting stories on Trump Jr's meeting with a Russian lawyer with Kremlin links.
Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer during the 2016 election campaign is under increased scrutiny after the revelation that he received an email outlining how the compromising information on Hillary Clinton that was offered was part of a Russian government effort to help his father's run for the presidency.
A New York Times report Monday cited three unnamed people with knowledge of the email from music publicist Rob Goldstone to Trump Jr. Goldstone, a former British tabloid reporter, brokered the meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
The lawyer had offered compromising information on Clinton, and Goldstone indicated in the email that the source of information was the Russian government.
Trump Jr. acknowledged he went to the meeting with Veselnitskaya in June 2016 in New York, a meeting also attended by Jared Kushner, his brother-in-law, and Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman at the time. After initially stating that the meeting was about the policy surrounding the adoption of Russian babies by American families, Trump Jr's second statement admitted that he had sought to hear what damaging information Veselnitskaya had. He added that the lawyer had no information of value and that he ended the meeting quickly.
On Monday, Trump Jr. brushed off the scrutiny over the meeting and his subsequent shifting statements, claiming that he had done what any political campaign operator would have done. He tweeted: “Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent...went nowhere but had to listen.”
But the Times report is the first clear indication that he was made aware that the potential information being offered was coming from the Russian government.
Trump Jr. continued to address the evolving story on his Twitter account Tuesday.
"Media & Dems are extremely invested in the Russia story. If this nonsense meeting is all they have after a yr, I understand the desperation!" he wrote ahead of a series of tweets in which he released what he says is his full email correspondence with Goldstone about the meeting.
In a statement posted along with the email chain, Trump Jr. said the first email was from Goldstone, relating to a request from Emin [Agalarov], someone he knew from the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant near Moscow. He thought the information they suggested they had was "political opposition research," so they set up an in-person meeting in New York and the woman "had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act." Trump Jr. said the meeting took place before the "current Russian fever was in vogue."
He then repeated what Goldstone said during an appearance on the Today show Tuesday, calling it the "most insane nonsense I ever heard. And I was actually agitated by it."
After Trump Jr. posted the emails, NYT reporter Adam Goldman, who has a byline on the original story, tweeted that Trump Jr. released the emails as they were about to publish.
See Trump Jr.'s statement and the released emails below.
Here's my statement and the full email chain pic.twitter.com/x050r5n5LQ— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 11, 2017
Here is page 4 (which did not post due to space constraints). pic.twitter.com/z1Xi4nr2gq— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 11, 2017
July 11, 11:30 a.m.: Updated with Trump Jr., Goldman tweets