In an email before his meeting with a Russian lawyer, Donald Trump Jr. was told that the promised compromising information on Hillary Clinton was part of an effort by the Russian government to help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the New York Times reported Monday night.
Publicist Rob Goldstone sent the email to Donald Trump Jr. and suggested that the Russian government was behind the alleged damaging info on Clinton, the New York Times reported, citing “three people with knowledge of the email.” The Times noted that there’s no evidence suggesting that the email or meeting between Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer were linked to Russia’s hacking attempts.
The Times initially reported on Saturday that Donald Trump Jr., along with Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer at Trump Tower shortly after Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination last year. Trump Jr. acknowledged that he took the meeting on Saturday, but he did not at first mention that he discussed the campaign.
“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,” Trump Jr. said in a Sunday statement. “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.”
Then on Monday, Trump Jr. defended his decision to attend the meeting and said that he believed Veselnitskaya had “info about an opponent.”
Trump Jr. has hired attorney Alan Futerfas to represent him. Futerfas told the Times in a statement on Monday that his client did nothing wrong.
“In my view, this is much ado about nothing. During this busy period, Robert Goldstone contacted Don Jr. in an email and suggested that people had information concerning alleged wrongdoing by Democratic Party front-runner, Hillary Clinton, in her dealings with Russia,” Futerfas told the New York Times in a Monday email. “Don Jr.’s takeaway from this communication was that someone had information potentially helpful to the campaign and it was coming from someone he knew. Don Jr. had no knowledge as to what specific information, if any, would be discussed.”
Read the New York Times’ full report here.