Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, tweeted an email chain from June 2016 in which he entertained accepting damaging information on Hillary Clinton as part of the Russian government’s support for his father’s campaign.
Rob Goldstone, the publicist for the Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, wrote to Trump Jr. on June 3: “Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.
“The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting 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,” he continued, referring to Aras Agalarov, a wealthy Azerbaijani-Russian developer who brought Trump’s Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013.
The four-page email chain, which Trump Jr. forwarded to his father’s campaign manager at the time, Paul Manafort, and to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, culminated in their meeting at Trump Tower on June 9 with Natalia Veselnitskaya — a lawyer described by Goldstone in his emails as a “Russian government attorney.”
But Trump Jr. said he emerged from the meeting disappointed.
He has offered a series of explanations over the past 72 hours for why he met with the Russian lawyer. He tried out his latest one with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Tuesday night.
“I didn’t know if there was any credibility, I didn’t know if there was anything behind it, I can’t vouch for the information,” Trump Jr. said. “Someone sent me an email. I can’t help what someone sends me. I read it, I responded accordingly.”
“She had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. “As Rob Goldstone said just today in the press, the entire meeting was ‘the most inane nonsense I ever heard. And I was actually agitated by it.’”
The latest emails could relate most directly to federal campaign finance law barring the solicitation of any contribution or “thing of value” from foreign nationals.
Legal analysts also raise the possibility of perjury, for example, if Trump Jr. or anyone else involved earlier denied any Russian meeting to federal investigators. Anyone who made a false statement to federal investigators about the meeting, including a material omission on government personnel paperwork, could be in serious jeopardy.
It is not clear that he has made any statements under oath related to the Russian interference in the election.