Emails: Trump Jr. embraced help said to be from Kremlin
Donald Trump Jr. eagerly accepted help from what was described to him as a Russian government effort to aid his father’s campaign with damaging information about Hillary Clinton, according to emails he released publicly on Tuesday.
The email exchange posted to Twitter by U.S. President Donald Trump’s eldest son shows him conversing with a music publicist who wanted him to meet with a lawyer from Moscow. The publicist describes the lawyer as a “Russian government attorney” who has dirt on Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” In one response, Trump Jr. says he would “love” to hear more.
Trump Jr., who was deeply involved in his father’s presidential campaign, released the emails along with a statement describing the disclosure as an effort “to be totally transparent.” The emails with publicist Rob Goldstone show that Trump Jr. was told that the Russian government had information that could “incriminate” Clinton and her dealings with Russia.
The messages were the latest disclosure to roil the ongoing investigation into potential coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia, which U.S. intelligence agencies have said sought to influence the outcome of the election in Trump’s favour. As congressional committees and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, investigate, the emails will almost certainly be reviewed for any signs of potential campaign collusion with the Kremlin, which the White House has repeatedly denied. Mueller spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment on the emails, citing the ongoing investigation. The White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Vice-President Mike Pence wasn’t aware of the meeting, his spokesman Marc Lotter said in a statement that stressed the meeting took place before he was part of the campaign. The actions described in Trump Jr.’s emails brought swift and firm reaction from Democrats, including a key member of the Senate intelligence committee.
“These emails show there is no longer a question of whether this campaign sought to collude with a hostile foreign power to subvert America’s democracy,” said Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon.
In the emails, Goldstone wrote to Trump Jr. that the information “would be very useful to your father.” Goldstone was working to connect Trump Jr. to Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, who later met with Trump Jr. in New York at Trump Tower. Veselnitskaya has denied that she ever worked for the Russian government.
“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. replied to Goldstone in one of a series of email exchanges the younger Trump posted.
Donald Trump Jr. has retained a New York-based lawyer to represent him.