NEW YORK CITY — Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday tweeted what he said was the full email correspondence between him and the music publicist believed to have helped arrange a June 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney in which Trump was hoping to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.
In a statement on Twitter, Trump said he was releasing the emails “in order to be totally transparent” about the situation, first revealed this past weekend by The New York Times. In an article published Tuesday, The Times said Trump published the emails “after being told that The Times was about to publish the content” of them.
In his statement Tuesday, Trump said the first email was from Rob Goldstone, the music publicist for a Russian pop star with connections to Trump, on June 3, 2016.
Goldstone has said he set up the meeting between the Russian lawyer, identified as Natalia Veselnitskaya, and a few top members of the Trump campaign.
“To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue,” Trump said in his statement.
The Times first reported on Monday that Trump was specifically told in an email that Veselnitskaya had damaging information about Clinton, then the soon-to-be Democratic presidential nominee, and that the Russian government wanted to help his father’s campaign.
The emails Trump shared seem to confirm the Times reporting.
Veselnitskaya was identified as a “Russian government attorney” in the emails, and Goldstone told Trump she would like to share some information about Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Goldstone said in an email to Trump that Veselnitskaya “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.”
In response to Goldstone’s initial email requesting the meeting and promising incriminating information on Clinton, Trump responded, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
In his first email, Goldstone wrote that the “Crown prosecutor of Russia” met with Aras Agalarov, a wealthy Azerbaijani-Russian developer who brought Donald Trump’s Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013, and offered to get the information to the Trump campaign.
Agalarov served as a liaison between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin when Trump was in Moscow in 2013, The Washington Post reported, and Trump appeared in a 2013 music video for Emin Agalarov, the billionaire’s pop-star son. It was the younger Agalarov whom Goldstone was setting the meeting up on behalf of. That meeting was attended by Donald Trump Jr.; Veselnitskaya; the Trump campaign chairman at the time, Paul Manafort; and Donald Trump’s son-in-law who now serves as White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
In the emails, Goldstone made it clear on June 7 that the younger Agalarov would not be able to discuss such information with Donald Trump Jr. and instead wanted to know whether the younger Trump could meet with the “Russian government attorney” who was “flying over from Moscow for this Thursday.” Donald Trump Jr. then agreed to an afternoon meeting at Trump Tower on June 9, and he later added that Manafort and Kushner would join him.
In a statement on Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr. said at first he “wanted to just have a phone call” with Veselnitskaya.
“When that didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet,” he said. “I decided to take the meeting.”
Donald Trump Jr. on Sunday said the meeting was set up on the premise that Veselnitskaya would provide damaging information on Clinton, but he said that material was never presented. Instead, he said, in a roughly 30-minute meeting Veselnitskaya pivoted to discussing the Magnitsky Act, a US law blacklisting Russians accused of human-rights abuses that so enraged Putin that he retaliated by barring US citizens from adopting Russian children.
In an interview with NBC News on Tuesday, Veselnitskaya said the members of the Trump team present at the meeting “wanted” the damaging information “so badly that they could only hear the thought that they wanted.”
When The Times broke the story Saturday, Donald Trump Jr. said the meeting was focused on the adoption issue, and he did not mention the promise of damaging Clinton information. On Monday, he retained Alan Futerfas as his attorney in the matter.
“Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted Monday. “Went nowhere but had to listen.”
The Times wrote Tuesday that it was set to publish a story on the Goldstone emails just before Donald Trump Jr.’s tweets releasing them. The Times said that it called Donald Trump Jr. for comment just before publishing and that he then tweeted out the email correspondence.
Trump Jr.’s statement on the emails:
“To everyone, in order to be totally transparent, I am releasing the entire email chain of my emails with Rob Goldstone about the meeting on June 9, 2016. The first email on June 3, 2016 was from Rob, who was relating a request from Emin, a person I knew from the 2013 Ms. Universe Pageant near Moscow. Emin and his father have a very highly respected company in Moscow. The information they suggested they had about Hillary Clinton I thought was political opposition research.”
“I first wanted to just have a phone call but when that didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet,” he continued. “I decided to take the meeting. The woman, as she has said publicly, was not a government official. And, as we have said, she had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act. To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue. As Rob Goldstone just said today in the press, the entire meeting was the ‘most inane nonsense I ever heard. And I was actually agitated by it.'”