In his first televised comments since revealing his meeting with a Russian lawyer based on the suspicion that she held damaging information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. downplayed the incident, telling Fox News’s Sean Hannity that the meeting was nothing more than “a wasted 20 minutes.” “There was nothing to tell,” the president’s eldest son told Hannity. “I wouldn’t have even remembered it until you started scouring through this stuff.”
For the most part, the chain of events has stayed relatively consistent: On June 3, 2016, Trump Jr. received an email from Rob Goldstone, a British music publicist, asking to arrange a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Goldstone believed that Veselnitskaya possessed incriminating documents and information that could be used against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. When Trump Jr. arrived at the meeting with his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the Trump campaign’s then-chairman, Paul Manafort, he realized that the lawyer had no insider scoop, and instead wanted to discuss the Magnitsky Act, an American law that sanctions top Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses. According to Trump Jr., Kushner left the meeting after about five or ten minutes, while Manafort was on his phone for most of the time.