WASHINGTON (CN) – Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday released what he says is the entire email chain setting up his controversial meeting with a Russian lawyer at the height of the 2016 campaign, confirming he was told in advance the potentially damaging information she had to share about Hillary Clinton came directly from the Kremlin.
“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,” Trump wrote in a statement he posted to Twitter. “To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue.”
Trump’s action came after the New York Times, quoting anonymous sources, said that disclosure was made in a email president’s son received from Rob Goldstone, the former British tabloid reporter who brokered the meeting.
In a June 3 email, Goldstone tells Trump Jr. the the “Crown prosecutor of Russia” met with the father of the lawyer “and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and could be very useful to your father.”
He added. “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information, but is part of Russia and it’s government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Goldstone asked Trump Jr. what he thinks the best way to handle the information is, and offers to send it directly to Trump’s father via an intermediary.
“But it is ultra sensitive so I wanted to send to you first,” Goldstein says in the email.
Trump Jr. responds, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
A senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said the emails released Tuesday by Donald Trump Jr. show that his father’s presidential campaign “sought to collude with a hostile foreign power to subvert America’s democracy.”
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden said “the question is how far the coordination goes.” He called for lawmakers to “stand up and do their duty: protect and defend the Constitution.”
Goldstone, who now runs Oui 2, a public relations company, is said to have crossed paths with President Trump in 2013, when the elder Trump was holding the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.
At the time, Trump owned the pageant’s operating company, having bought it in 1996. He sold his stake in the beauty contest in 2015.
Donald Trump Jr.’s account of his meeting with Russian attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, has evolved over the past several days.
On Saturday, when the first reports of the meeting surfaced, Trump Jr. issued a statement that made no mention of it having any connection to Clinton.
But after the New York Times published a more detailed report on the meeting July 10, citing three White House advisors briefed on the meeting, the president’s eldest son said he took the meeting because he was promised potentially damaging information about his father’s Democratic opponent.
In his statement on Tuesday, Trump said he decided to take the meeting, but when he got together with the woman “she had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act.”
“As Rob Goldstone said just today in the press, the entire meeting was ‘the most inane nonsense I ever heard. And I was actually agitated by it.'”
No evidence has yet emerged suggesting the opposition research was related to Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails, but Goldstone did tell reporters on Monday that he was informed ahead of time that Veselnitskaya had the inside scoop on possible illegal campaign contributions to the DNC.
Goldstone said he emailed Trump Jr. with the tip off and outlined what Veselnitskaya claimed to have but “never, never ever” did he think there was any underhanded Russian governmental involvement, he said, a claim that now appears somewhat undercut by Tuesday’s email disclosures.
Veselnitskaya has, for her part, denied any wrongdoing and claims that Clinton never even came up in her conversation with Trump Jr.
She has only said that she never acted on behalf of the Russian government. A spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin said Monday that they didn’t know Veselnitskaya nor were they remotely aware of the meeting last June.
Since news of the meeting broke, the president’s son has begun to lawyer up, hiring Alan Futerfas of New York.
Futerfas has said publicly that his client did nothing wrong and called the latest news “much ado about nothing,” adding that his client would cooperate with investigators if asked.
Futerfas did not return a call for comment Tuesday morning but in an interview with the New York Times on Monday, he said: “Don Jr.’s takeaway from this communication was that someone had information potentially helpful to the campaign and it was coming from someone he knew. Don Jr. had no knowledge as to what specific information, if any, would be discussed.”
The email will likely curry interest with the congressional investigators and the Department of Justice. There are four investigations pending examining the possible collusion between the Russian government and a number of Trump campaign associates.
On Monday, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the president’s son didn’t collude with anyone.
“No one within the Trump campaign colluded in order to influence the election,” she told reporters.
Trump Jr. spent Monday firing off tweets about the meeting. Linking up to an article by the conservative media outlet, The Drudge Report, he tweeted: “Obviously, I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent … went nowhere but had to listen.”
In short order, he tweeted the New York Times article which broke the story, saying: “No inconsistency in statements, meeting ended up being primarily about adoptions. In response to further Q’s I simply provided more details.” [Abbreviations original.]
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee told reporters on Monday that they wanted to talk with the president’s eldest son. During afternoon press conferences on the Hill, committee members Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., both said they “absolutely” wanted to interview Trump Jr.
On Tuesday morning, Trump Jr. appeared to be trying to put the story behind him, tweeting: “Media & Dems are extremely invested in the Russia story. If this nonsense meeting is all they have after a yr, I understand the desperation!” [Emphasis and abbreviation original]