Trump Jr. told investigators he can’t recall if he discussed Russian meeting with his father
WASHINGTON — After setting up a meeting with Russian agents to discuss what he thought would be incriminating information on Hillary Clinton in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr. made an 11-minute phone call to a blocked phone number, according to transcripts of his interviews released Wednesday.
Trump Jr. says he can’t remember who he spoke to that night. But his father, now President Trump, used a blocked phone number at his home at the time, according to former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
At a rally the next day, the presidential candidate alluded to information his campaign had gathered on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. He said he was planning to give a “major speech” the following week “discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons,” he said.
“I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting,” Trump said. “I wonder if the press will want to attend, who knows.”
Whether or not President Trump knew about his son’s meeting with Russians is one of the central unanswered questions in a wide-ranging investigations into possible Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election.
Transcripts of interviews with investigators with the Senate Judiciary Committee could not answer that question conclusively, as Trump Jr. said he couldn’t remember whether he talked to his father about it.
President Trump was involved in crafting Trump Jr.’s statement to the press after the meeting became known last year.
The Trump Tower meeting was set up with the promise of some damaging information the Russians said they had on now-President Trump’s Clinton, according to emails obtained by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The meeting offer came from Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who represented Russian singer Emin Agalarov.
“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. emailed back.
In his closed-door Senate testimony, Trump Jr. explained what he meant by “I love it.”
“It was a colloquial term used to say, hey, great, thank you,” he said.
Ultimately, Trump Jr. insisted the meeting was useless.
“The meeting provided no meaningful information and turned out to be not about what was represented. The meeting was instead primarily focused on Russian adoptions, which is exactly what I said over a year later in my statement of July 8, 2017,” Trump Jr. said in his prepared testimony. “To the extent that they had information concerning the fitness, character, or qualifications of any presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out.”
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