WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — Donald Trump Jr. says he did not tell his father about his meeting with a Russian attorney during last year’s presidential campaign because it was “such a nothing.”
Appearing on “Hannity” on Fox Tuesday night, Trump Jr. said, “For me, this was opposition research. They had something, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I had been hearing about.”
With his explanation shifting and his credibility under fire, the president’s oldest son released an email chain Tuesday that initiated his meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with possible ties to the Kremlin.
The exchange between Trump Jr. and music publicist Rob Goldstone says the lawyer had information from the Russian government that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.
Trump Jr. replied, “If it’s what you say I love it, especially later in the summer.”
One of the emails also revealed the meeting was part of the Russian government’s support to aid his father’s candidacy.
“I think I went to hear it out,” Trump Jr. told Sean Hannity. “But really it went nowhere and it was apparent that wasn’t actually what the meeting was about. It was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell.”
Trump Jr. says he didn’t report the meeting to his father, but did bring along brother-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort.
“In retrospect, I would probably have done things differently,” Trump Jr. told Hannity.
President Trump defended his son Tuesday after Jr. released a series of emails connected to his meeting.
The president’s Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read Mr. Trump’s statement in an off-camera briefing.
“My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency,” the statement read.
His apparent eagerness to gather dirt on a political opponent from an adversarial nation has proved concerning to many Republicans.
“On its face, this is very problematic,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said. “We cannot allow foreign governments to reach out to anybody’s campaign and say we’d like to help you. That is a non-starter.”
Democrats across the aisle are shocked.
“I don’t see how anyone can deny that this brings the investigation to a whole other level,” Senator Mark Warner (D-Va) said.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, the Senate Intelligence Committee wants to hear from the president — and the special counsel investigating Russian election meddling will also look at Trump Jr.’s actions.