President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., denounced allegations that last year’s cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee was perpetrated by Russia weeks after he met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer who claimed to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
And according to a report in The New York Times published Monday evening, Trump Jr. was reportedly told before the meeting last June that the information was collected by the Russian government in an effort to aid his father’s candidacy.
This report seemed to be confirmed by emails Trump Jr. released Tuesday. In the emails, lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya is identified as a “Russian government attorney” and the man who set up the meeting with her tells Trump Jr. that she would like to share damaging information about Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
When CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Trump Jr. last July to respond to the claims of Russian meddling, Trump Jr. said they were “disgusting … lies” being spread by the Clinton campaign.
“It’s disgusting, it’s so phony,” Trump Jr. said during the July 24, 2016 interview. “I can’t think of bigger lies. But that exactly goes to show you what the DNC and what the Clinton camp will do. They will lie and do anything to win.”
Trump Jr. was reportedly told of the Russian government’s efforts to aid his father’s candidacy in June 2016 — before the DNC emails were leaked (the first batch was released on July 22, 2016) and before the public became aware of the cyberattack on the DNC.
Then-candidate Trump also pushed aside the allegations of Russian interference last summer, calling the claims a “joke.”
“The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC emails, which should have never been written (stupid), because Putin likes me,” Trump tweeted the day after his son’s CNN interview.
The FBI, CIA, NSA, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a report in January 2017 claiming that the Russian government, directed by President Vladimir Putin, orchestrated the attacks on the DNC in an attempt to hurt Clinton and help Trump’s chances of winning the 2016 election.
President Trump, who met with Putin for the first time last week, has refused to blame Russia for the election meddling and questions the intelligence indicating the country’s culpability.
Watch the clip below:
NYT: Don Jr was told before mtg that Clinton dirt was part of Russian govt effort to aid Trump
6/9/16: Mtg w/Russian