US President Donald Trump’s son has said that he did not inform his father about the meeting with a Russian lawyer who said she could help his election campaign.
Donald Trump Jr told Fox News that his meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in June last year was “just a nothing”, but in retrospect, he would have done things differently.
Asked by Fox News if he had told his father about the meeting, Trump Jr said: “No. It was just a nothing. There was nothing to tell.”
The President’s son, defending his actions and the allegations that Russia tried to sabotage Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign, said he did not have any knowledge of this.
Russia has also repeatedly denied interfering in the November 8 US presidential election.
Trump Jr on Tuesday released emails showing that he welcomed an offer to meet the lawyer, who was allegedly linked to the Kremlin and had material damaging to Clinton.
“I mean, I wouldn’t have even remembered it until you started scouring through this stuff. It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame.”
Trump Jr, his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort met Natalia Veselnitskaya after he received an email from an intermediary, British publicist Rob Goldstone, promising documents from Russia that would incriminate Clinton.
At that time, Donald Trump was the presumptive Republican nominee and heading towards an election fight against Clinton.
One email from Goldstone said the information they had been promised was “obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Trump”.
Trump Jr’s response email read: “If it’s what you say I love it.”
He said the meeting went nowhere, the woman provided them with nothing of use and it only lasted 20 minutes.
“This is before the Russia mania, this is before they were building this up in the press. For me this was opposition research, they had something you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I’d been hearing about.”
“Someone sent me an email. I can’t help what someone sends me. I read it, I responded accordingly, and if there was something interesting there, I think that’s pretty common.”
Trump in a brief statement supported his son, describing him as “a high-quality person” and applauding his transparency.
Veselnitskaya has said she was never in possession of information that could have damaged Clinton, and has no links to the Kremlin.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the emails were “very disturbing”.
The highest-ranked Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, said he wanted Trump Jr and all participants in the meeting to testify before the panel.