The New York Times has reported that Donald Trump Jr., son of President Trump, met with a Russian lawyer during the course of the campaign for “damaging information” about Hillary Clinton.
Trump Jr. released a statement after the initial report, saying the following:
“After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”
The conversation then reportedly changed direction, shifting course from the Clinton campaign to other Russian-American issues, including adoption of children.
A spokesperson for President Trump denied that the President had any knowledge of any such meetings during his campaign, but did not comment further.
It is not clear whether or not the information promised to Trump Jr. was ever procured.
Following initial reports, and facing pressure from the New York Times, Donald Jr. has released the e-mails scheduling the meeting and leading up to it, and has hired a criminal defense lawyer.
The e-mails, published on Twitter minutes before the Times was going to do the same, show Donald Jr. welcoming the help from Russia, saying that “if it’s what you say [incriminating information about Hillary Clinton] then I love it.”
Donald Jr. then forwarded the e-mails to fellow campaign members Jared Kushner, as well as then-Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort.
The e-mails and the surrounding controversy have led to bipartisan calls to summon Donald Jr. to a hearing as part of the ongoing Russia-Trump relations investigation.
(Image: AM New York)