President Donald Trump’s outside legal team knew more than three weeks ago about the email chain arranging a June 2016 meeting between his eldest son and a Russian lawyer, Yahoo News reports.
Trump’s lead lawyer for the Russia investigation, Marc Kasowitz, and Alan Garten, executive vice president and chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, were both informed about the emails in the third week of June, after they were discovered by lawyers for Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser.
The exchange apparently was initiated on June 3, 2016, when a Trump family associate, publicist Rob Goldstone, emailed Donald Jr. with an offer of something “very interesting”, that being “official documents and information” that “would be very useful to your father.”
On June 8, 2016, Trump Jr. forwarded an email to Kushner and Manafort about the upcoming meeting with the subject line: “FW: Russia-Clinton-private & confidential.” Trump Jr. wrote back later that day, telling Goldstone “if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
The discovery of the emails prompted Kushner to amend his security clearance form to reflect the meeting, which he had failed to report when he originally sought clearance for his White House job. His second revision to the so-called SF-86, was done on June 21.
Kushner made the change even though there were questions among his lawyers whether the meeting had to be reported, given that there was no clear evidence that Veselnitskaya was a government official. The change to the security form prompted the FBI to question Kushner on June 23, the second time he was interviewed by agents about his security clearance, the sources said. But the information that Trump’s lawyers were told about the emails in June raises questions about why they would not have immediately informed the president.
Trump said in an interview with Reuters he only found out recently about Donald Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, whom was believed to have damaging information on Hillary Clinton. He further repeated that assertion in a talk with reporters on Air Force One on his way to Paris Wednesday night.
“I only heard about it two or three days ago,” he said, according to a transcript of his talk, when asked about the meeting with Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in June 2016 attended by Donald
Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, then Trump’s campaign chief, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump’s campaign is under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible collusion with Russian government officials.