Trump Jr. Met with Russian Lawyer who Promised Damaging Clinton Info

President’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. says he met with an individual he had been told “might have information helpful to the campaign” in June 2016.

His statements come in response to The New York Times’ reporting that he “was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign.”

The New York Times cited three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it. Moreover, the revelations highlight the fundamental issue for federal investigators as they probe Russia’s interference in last year’s election: Did the Trump campaign collude with Russians in an effort to hurt Clinton and win the White House?

Donald Trump Jr. said in a statement to CNN that the meeting was set up by an acquaintance he knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, which was held in a suburb of Moscow.

According to the statement, he was not given the person’s name beforehand. CNN has confirmed the Russian lawyer he met with is Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Trump Jr. also said he invited Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort to attend the meeting, “but told them nothing of the substance.”

“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,” Trump Jr. said in the 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.”

Furthermore, Trump Jr. added that the lawyer then changed subjects and began discussing a separate issue: the adoption of Russian children and a U.S. law known as the Magnitsky Act, which allows the U.S. to withhold visas and freeze the assets of Russians thought to have violated human rights.

Veselnitskaya founded a group purporting to seek the removal of Moscow’s ban on the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens, which it put in place in retaliation for the Magnitsky Act; she has also sought to repeal that law.

Trump Jr. said that when Veselnitskaya began discussing these other issues, “It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting. I interrupted and advised her that my father was not an elected official, but rather a private citizen, and that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office.”

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