Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign after she promised him damaging information about Hillary Clinton, the president’s eldest son said in a statement Sunday, shedding new light contacts between Trump’s innermost circle and Russian figures last year.
Donald Jr. told The New York Times and other news outlets that he, his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with the lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016. He said she established contact with him through an unnamed acquaintance he had met during the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, which his father had organized in Moscow, and that he knew she might have “information helpful to the campaign.”
“After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton,” he said in a statement. “Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”
Sunday’s revelation is the most concrete evidence yet that President Trump’s campaign was receptive to foreign assistance to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid during the 2016 campaign. It came one day after the Times reported Donald Jr.’s meeting with Veselnitskaya for the first time. In a statement provided for that article, he told the Times the meeting focused on Russian adoptions and the Magnitsky Act, a bipartisan act of Congress that sanctioned top Russian officials for human-rights abuses in 2012.