Trump Jr. Sits Down with Senate Judiciary Committee to Talk Email, Russia Meddling
Donald Trump Jr. is meeting with U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee investigators this morning on Capitol Hill to talk about Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russian hackers during the 2016 elections and his meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin.
Trump Jr.’s meeting is expected to last about two hours.
Investigators are interested in hearing from Trump Jr. on the Trump campaign’s contacts with the Russians during the campaign, what he knew before his June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower where the Russians promised dirt on then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and special adviser to the president, and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort were also in the meeting at Trump Tower.
Earlier this year Trump Jr., facing intense pressure, released a string of email messages between him and various individuals with deep connection to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.
The emails depicted a thread of messages that began with a Moscow based Russian top federal prosecutor, a billionaire friend of President Donald Trump and an offer for “high level information” and dirt on Hillary Clinton.
“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin,” Rob Goldstone, one of the people involved in the email chain wrote to Trump Jr.
Trump Jr. responded: “Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?”
Democrats on the intelligence committee said this week they expect Trump Jr. to be forthright with them.
“We expect him to be honest. If he is not being completely honest, there are laws that will come into play,” Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal told the media.
Sen. Blumenthal is a leading voice on the committee investigating Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russians.
“My worst fears, among them, is that this meeting may have been a prelude or an overture to more coordinated activities involving collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians in their interference in our election. And that afterward, there was obstruction of justice which is very much front and center and involves following the money, and that is also important in the meeting this morning, following the money,” Mr. Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, said on MSNBC.
When asked why the committee’s meeting with Trump Jr. is being held behind closed doors instead of in open hearing, Mr. Blumenthal said the committee wanted to get as much information as possible.
“It may or it may not change what he says in [any future] public hearing, but it enables us to go into that public hearing with better information to ask questions of him. The question will be, at that public hearing, whether he remains consistent,” the senator said.
Days after news broke of the Trump Tower meeting, Trump Jr. lied that the meeting was primarily about Russian adoptions, a reference to sanctions imposed by Congress in 2012 on a small group of wealthy Russians.
President Vladimir Putin later banned the adoption of Russian children by Americans. Lobbyists have been working inside the U.S. ever since to get Congress to overturn the financial restrictions.
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