If the Russia investigation leads to any indictments for members of the Trump family, the New York Times’ latest report will likely be cited as the cause.
On Monday evening, the Times reported that Donald Trump Jr. was told in an email that a meeting he would later have with a Kremlin-connected attorney was part of an effort by the Russian government to help his father win the 2016 presidential election. The attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, allegedly had information about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton that would be damaging to her campaign.
According to the Times‘ Matt Apuzzo, Jo Becker, Adam Goldman, and Maggie Haberman, an email to the eldest Trump scion came from publicist Rob Goldstone, who ostensibly told the Times’ three unnamed sources that the information itself was obtained by the Russian government. It was not immediately made clear whether or not that information was acquired through cyberattacks on Democratic Party infrastructure.
“In my view, this is much ado about nothing,” wrote Alan Futerfas, whom Trump Jr. retained as his own attorney on Monday to represent him in the Russia investigation, in an email to Times reporters. “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,” he continued.
In addition to Trump Jr., Paul Manafort — who was the chairman of then-candidate Trump’s presidential campaign — met with Veselnitskaya along with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is currently one of President Trump’s most senior White house advisors. Trump Jr. has changed his account of the details of the meeting multiple times in the last 48 hours. The Trump heir initially said the meeting was about adoptions, but then changed his story to acknowledge that there was a promise of opposition research by meeting with Veselnitskaya.
“After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton,” Trump Jr. stated. “Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”
The ongoing Russia probe is being handled by both the Senate Intelligence Committee and former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who was appointed special counsel following the James Comey’s controversial firing. As of this writing, Trump Jr. has not been issued a subpoena by either Mueller or the committee.
Jordan Shaw is a New Jersey-based writer and commentator specializing in national and state government issues for Grit Post. When he’s not writing, you can find him volunteering in Camden, New Jersey, or hiking the Wissahickon Valley Park.