Emails: Russian Source Promised Trump Son Incriminating Information on Clinton

July 11, 2017

Newly disclosed emails show U.S. President Donald Trump's eldest son last year was promised incriminating information from a Russian lawyer about Trump's opponent in the 2016 election, Democrat Hillary Clinton, to bolster Moscow's support of the real estate mogul's candidacy.

Donald Trump Jr. released the string of emails Tuesday that he exchanged with Rob Goldstone, a U.S. music publicist who was representing Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with the younger Trump in mid-June last year, shortly after his father had clinched the Republican party's nomination for president.

The emails come as Russian interference in the election is the subject of numerous investigations in Congress and a criminal probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The U.S. intelligence community has already concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed a campaign aimed at discrediting the U.S. election, damaging Clinton's reputation and helping Trump defeat her.

'Very useful to your father'

In a June 3 email, Goldstone told the younger Trump that "The Crown prosecutor of Russia ... 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."

"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," the email said.

Within minutes, the younger Trump replied, "If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."

Days later, Goldstone referred to Veselnitskaya as "the Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow" to meet with the younger Trump. Moscow has denied knowing Veselnitskaya and rejected U.S. claims that it meddled in the election.

As he released the emails, Donald Trump Jr. said that when he met with the attorney it became obvious to him that she did not have incriminating evidence about Clinton to hand to him and that Veselnitskaya quickly turned the conversation to discussions about sanctions the U.S. had placed on Russia and Moscow's response ending adoption of Russian children by Americans.

The White House on Monday, before the disclosure of the chain of Donald Trump Jr.'s chain of emails, defended his meetingwith Veselnitskaya, saying that it proved there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to help Trump's campaign because nothing came of the talks.

The younger Trump met Veselnitskaya along with then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and the eventual president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, both of whom are now White House advisers to the president.

Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian attorney is the first known contact between senior Trump campaign officials and Russian interests during the campaign. The New York Times first disclosed the younger Trump's meeting with the Russian lawyer, but his lawyer dismissed the story as "much ado about nothing."

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday, "The presidentís campaign did not collude in any way. Don Jr. did not collude with anybody to influence the election. Our position is that no one within the Trump campaign colluded in order to influence the election."

With the release of the emails, however, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said that the younger Trump "definitely has to testify" before a Senate panel probing Russia's election interference.

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