Trump Jr. Meeting With Senate Panel Investigating Russian Meddling

Donald Trump Jr. wanted dirt on Hillary Clinton's "fitness" to be President when he took a now highly scrutinized meeting with a Russian lawyer last summer, according to a new report.

Attorneys for Paul Manafort, who served as President Trump's campaign chairman, is trying to prevent special counsel Robert Mueller from acquiring a transcript of his interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee in July.

Trump Jr. - in a statement crafted by his father - initially claimed that the Trump Tower meeting had focused on "a program about the adoption of Russian children" and the president's team has maintained that it was a "nothing burger".

The eldest son of President Donald Trump said in a prepared statement that nothing came of the meeting at Trump Tower and that he did not collude with the Russian government campaign meddling operation, according to the Times, which obtained a copy of Trump Jr.'s statement.

"Love it", the younger Trump responded in setting up the meeting. Trump Jr. has publicly offered a variety of justifications for attending the meeting, including discussing Russian adoption policy, but he told the congressional investigators that he was indeed interested in information on Clinton.

Donald Trump Jr.'s closed door statement (which was not made under oath) to the Senate Intelligence Committee has already leaked to the New York Times.

Russian Federation has loomed large over the first seven months of the Trump presidency.

As for his argument on the merits, for now, let's put aside the absurdity of Trump Jr. arguing that he felt the need to help evaluate Clinton's "fitness" for the presidency - as if this were somehow a credible rationale for cooperating with a foreign adversary. This is of interest to the Mueller because Trump may have tried to "corruptly persuade" a witness into giving false testimony, which is a crime.

Congressional investigations of Russian meddling in the USA election likely will be extended - perhaps into next year - because of revelations during Congress' August recess about Trump associates' contacts and meetings, Democrats on the Senate and House intelligence committees said Tuesday.

Trump Jr. met privately with the committee to answer questions about the Manhattan meeting previous year, when he worked for President Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Trump Jr entered the Capitol under cover and did not speak with reporters. The interview was being conducted by staff, but a handful of Democratic senators attended.

In his statement, Trump Jr said he had some reservations about the June 2016 proposal from the meeting's facilitator, Rob Goldstone, whom he described as a "colourful" music promoter he had come to know through the son of a Russian oligarch. Schiff said Republicans are working harder to discredit those who compiled the dossier than to find out if the allegations in it are true. He released emails this summer that showed it was "part of Russian Federation and its government's support for [President Donald] Trump".

Senate aides anticipate a lengthy interview. He could eventually also sit down with the House and Senate intelligence committees, but no dates have been set.

  • Jon Douglas