A new report says the man who set up a meeting last year for a Russian lawyer to give Donald Trump Jr. potentially damaging material about Hillary Clinton indicated in an email to Trump Jr. that the Russian government was the source of the information.
The New York Times report Monday cited three unnamed people with knowledge of the email from music publicist Rob Goldstone.
In a statement, Trump Jr.’s lawyer Alan Futerfas said the woman was not a government official and had not worked for the government since 2001.
Futerfas said Goldstone emailed Trump Jr. and “suggested that people had information concerning alleged wrongdoing by Democratic Party front runner, Hillary Clinton, in her dealings with Russia.” Futerfas said Trump’s “takeaway from this communication was that someone had information potentially helpful to the campaign and it was coming from someone he knew” but that Trump Jr. had no knowledge of what they were going to discuss.
“At no time was there ever any understanding or commitment that he, or anyone else, would find the information, whatever it turned out to be, to be reliable, credible or of interest, or would even survive due diligence,” Futerfas said.
Futerfas called the meeting “much ado about nothing.”
Goldstone spoke to The Associated Press earlier Monday and confirmed he set up the meeting on behalf of his client, a Russian singer. Goldstone said the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, stated she had information about purported illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic National Committee that she thought Trump Jr. might find helpful.
Trump Jr. has acknowledged taking the meeting to learn damaging information about Clinton. But this would be the first indication he had been informed that the material had allegedly come from the Kremlin.
Trump Jr. tweeted on Monday “obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent… went nowhere but had to listen” and that he is “happy to work” with the Senate intelligence committee.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted again on Monday that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in the 2016 election. Sanders insisted that there was nothing abnormal about the “very short meeting.” But CBS News’ Major Garrett then pressed Sanders of the administrations numerous “blanket denials” that campaign officials had “any meetings, under any circumstances” with Russian officials.