WASHINGTON - Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer came after he was promised information damaging to Hillary Clinton, the New York Times reported Sunday.
The meeting during the presidential campaign last year also was attended by then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, according to the Times.
It is unclear if the lawyer who has ties to the Kremlin, Natalia Veselnitskaya, provided any compromising information, the newspaper reported.
The Times, citing interviews with anonymous sources and confidential documents, said the meeting took place at Trump Tower in New York on June 9, 2016, two weeks after Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination.
The president’s eldest son told the newspaper in a statement that during the meeting Veselnitskaya said “she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton.”
Vague statements that made no sense
But Donald Trump Jr. said “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.”
He said the meeting then turned to adoption and an American law that blacklisted suspected human rights abusers, which prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop American adoptions of Russian children.
“It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting,” Donald Trump Jr. told the Times.
The lawyer, who is known for opposing the law, is married to a former deputy transportation minister and counts state-owned businesses as clients.
But the revelations about the meeting are likely to amp up the scrutiny and pressure on him and the White House, where Kushner is now a senior adviser to the president, as investigations continue into Russian meddling in the presidential election and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
The Times said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the president’s lawyer, said Sunday that “the president was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.”
Veselnitskaya told the newspaper that "nothing at all about the presidential campaign" was discussed at the meeting, she had "never acted on behalf of the Russian government" and "never discussed any of these matters with any representative of the Russian government."
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