Donald Trump Jr. has released an email chain showing he was keen to accept “sensitive” information on Hillary Clinton from a Russian national.
Publicist Rob Goldstone tells Donald Trump Jr. that there is information that is “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump”.
Donald Trump’s son replies: “If it’s what you say, I love it.”
The emails led to a meeting in New York with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
It appears to be the first confirmation that a Trump associate attended a meeting in the expectation of being handed sensitive information from Russian officials.
US officials are currently investigating alleged Russian meddling in the US election.
President Donald Trump issued a brief statement in support of his son, describing him as “a high-quality person” and applauding his transparency.
The emails to Donald Trump Jr., which he released on Twitter, say “the crown prosecutor of Russia” (a role that does not exist) had “offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father”.
The email chain was also forwarded to Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and campaign manager Paul Manafort.
All three later met Natalia Veselnitskaya at New York’s Trump Tower.
Since he was elected, Donald Trump has been dogged by allegations that Russia tried to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The president has denied any knowledge of this and Russia has also repeatedly denied interfering.
In May, the DoJ appointed ex-FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to look into the Russian matter.
The New York Times first reported on July 8 that a meeting had taken place on June 9, 2016, between Natalia Veselnitskaya and the Trump team.
It later reported that Donald Trump Jr. had earlier been offered alleged damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
The Times had been expected to publish emails connected to the meeting, but Donald Trump Jr. pre-empted this by posting the email chain on Twitter.
He had earlier admitted meeting Natalia Veselnitskaya but insisted she had provided “no meaningful information”. He said she had wanted to talk about adoptions.
Natalia Veselnitskaya, who has been linked to the Russian government, has insisted she was never in possession of information that could have damaged Hillary Clinton.
The Russian lawyer said Donald Trump’s son and two senior campaign aides may have met her last summer because they were “longing” for such information. She has denied any connection with the Kremlin.
The email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. shows that:
- On June 3, 2016, he received an email from intermediary Rob Goldstone promising documents from Russia that would incriminate Hillary Clinton and her supposed dealings with Russia;
- One email from Rob Goldstone said the information they had been promised was “obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump”;
- The person who was to meet Donald Trump Jr. in New York was described as “a Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow”;
- Within the week, a meeting had been arranged which included Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.
Donald Trump Jr. also posted a statement saying he was releasing the email chain “to be totally transparent” and reiterated that the Russian lawyer had “no information to provide”.
Rob Goldstone has previously denied any knowledge of involvement in the election by the Russian government.