President Donald Trump defended Donald Trump Jr. following revelations that his son met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer attempting to pass him information as part of an alleged Russian government effort to boost his father’s campaign.
“My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency,” Trump said in a statement read at an off-camera White House press briefing.
On Tuesday, Trump Jr. confirmed the June 2016 meeting, which was reported earlier by The New York Times.
“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,” Trump Jr. wrote, referring to the music publicist who helped set up the meeting.
According to Trump Jr., Goldstone set up the meeting between the Russian lawyer, identified as Natalia Veselnitskaya, and a few top members of the Trump campaign including top adviser Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort. Trump Jr. was told the lawyer would provide damanging information on soon-to-be Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue,” Trump said in his statement.
The released emails are four pages long. Some of the most notable parts:
- Goldstone wrote to Trump Jr. 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.”
- Goldstone also wrote that the information “is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
- Trump Jr. writes to Goldstone on the chain, “if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
The revelations quickly ignited criticism from many Democrats and some Republicans, who said the communications potentially indicated collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia.