Update: Buzzfeed News has shared a follow-up comment from Alan Futerfas, Trump Jr.’s lawyer, on The Times story:
Original post continues here:
Following its initial report that Trump Jr. had met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer during the campaign to obtain information about Hillary Clinton, The New York Times published a second story alleging that Trump Jr. thought the meeting was a part of “a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy.”
The email was reportedly sent by Rob Goldstone, a publicist who admitted to brokering the June 2016 meeting between Trump Jr. and the Kremlin-connected lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. The Times did not obtain a copy of the email but spoke with three people who read Goldstone’s communication to Trump Jr.
Here’s the gist of the email’s contents:
“Mr. Goldstone’s message, as described to The New York Times by the three people, indicates that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information. It does not elaborate on the wider effort by Moscow to help the Trump campaign. There is no evidence to suggest that the promised damaging information was related to Russian government computer hacking that led to the release of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails.”
According to The Times, Goldstone was basically a middleman with no “direct” knowledge of the alleged information on Clinton — “it appeared that he was passing along information that had been given to him by others,” a source said. Goldstone’s connection to Trump stems from his representation of Emin Agalarov — the son of Trump’s business partner in launching a Miss Universe Pageant in Russia.
After Sunday’s initial report, Trump Jr. first denied the meeting, then claimed it was about adoption, then took to Twitter to say he was simply researching his father’s opponent. He has since said he would be willing to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee for its investigation into whether Russia interfered with the election.
Trump Jr.’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, spoke to The Times over email on Monday; he still maintained his client did nothing wrong:
“In my view, this is much ado about nothing. During this busy period, Robert Goldstone contacted Don Jr. in an email and suggested that people had information concerning alleged wrongdoing by Democratic Party front-runner, Hillary Clinton, in her dealings with Russia. Don Jr.’s takeaway from this communication was that someone had information potentially helpful to the campaign and it was coming from someone he knew. Don Jr. had no knowledge as to what specific information, if any, would be discussed.”
The Kremlin has also, predictably, denied any knowledge of or involvement with the meeting.