Donald Trump Jr.: Russian attorney offered info on Hillary Clinton during campaign
Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin in the days after his father clinched the Republican presidential nomination, where he was offered information on Hillary Clinton that he was told would be helpful to his father’s campaign, the president’s eldest son said Sunday.
The meeting took place at Trump Tower between Trump Jr., the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump’s then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya on June 9, 2016.
“I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign,” Trump Jr. said in a statement received by ABC News. “I was not told her name prior to the meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to attend, but told them nothing of the substance.
“We had a meeting in June 2016. 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,” he said.
Trump Jr. said that Veselnitskaya then changed the subject and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and moved the conversation towards the Magnitsky Act — a 2012 bill that blocks certain Russian officials’ entrance to the U.S. and their use of the U.S. banking system. After the act was passed, Russia stopped allowing Americans to adopt Russian children. Veselnitskaya is best known for her work against the Magnitsky Act.
“It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting. I interrupted and advised her that my father was not an elected official, but rather a private citizen, and that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office,” Trump Jr. said in his statement.
“The meeting lasted approximately 20 to 30 minutes. As it ended, my acquaintance apologized for taking up our time. That was the end of it and there was no further contact or follow-up of any kind,” he said.
Trump Jr. added that his father knew nothing of the meeting.
The president’s outside legal team also said he did not attend the meeting and was not aware of it.
In a statement on Saturday, Trump Jr. described the meeting as “short” and “introductory” and that they’d “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.”
This marks the first confirmation of a meeting between members of Trump’s family and Russians during his campaign for the presidency.
It has been concluded among U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian hackers passed information stolen from the Clinton campaign and the Democratic party to WikiLeaks in 2016. The release of that material began July 22.
The meeting with Veselnitskaya was only recently disclosed by Kushner, now a senior White House aide, when he re-submitted a form necessary for his security clearance. Kushner’s attorney Jamie Gorelick released a statement on Saturday regarding the revelation, explaining that the form was originally submitted before it should have been.
“As we have previously stated, Mr. Kushner’s SF-86 was prematurely submitted and, among other errors, did not list any contacts with foreign government officials,” he said in the statement.
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