President Trump’s eldest son Donald Jr. continues to provide varying explanations for the meeting that he took with who he believed to be Russian officials with information procured by the Russian government in order to help Trump win the presidency.
However, the latest could well land him in some serious hot water if it turns out to be a fabrication. That’s because it was given to congressional investigators.
On Thursday, during a closed session, Trump Jr. told Senate investigators that he set up the June 2016 meeting with a Russian government lawyer in order to learn about Hillary Clinton’s “fitness” to be president, according to the New York Times. In addition to investigators, the meeting was also attended by some Senate Democrats.
Don Jr. added that he was initially conflicted when the Russian lawyer informed him that she may have damaging information on the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, and that he intended to discuss the matter with his lawyers. The fact that he harbored doubts about the issue cuts both ways as it also shows that he had knowledge that he was potentially open to legal liability by engaging with a foreign country in order to obtain damaging information on a political opponent.
His statement also runs somewhat counter to his written response when he was told that the Russian government wanted to supply him with the information. In fact, Trump Jr. replied in an email “I love it.”
In his statement to the Senate, he was dismissive of the claim that the meeting could demonstrate that the Trump campaign attempted to collude with Russia. “As much as some have made of my using the phrase ‘I love it,’ it was simply a colloquial way of saying that I appreciated Rob’s gesture,” he said.
He added that he believed that he should “hear out” the Russian contingent. “To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out…Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration.”