Donald Trump Jr. | YouTube, CBS Evening News

The Facts

  • Donald Trump Jr. will be invited to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to the Associated Press. If he chooses not to appear voluntarily, he will be subpoenaed, AP reported.

  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the committee chairman, said the committee will send Trump Jr. a letter requesting him to testify publicly on the circumstances surrounding his meeting in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer who was alleged at that time to represent the Russian government. According to emails released by Trump Jr. on Tuesday, the meeting was set up on the pretext that the Russian lawyer had “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia…”

  • Grassley has also asked the Departments of State and Homeland Security to provide the committee with information on how that same Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya — a former Russian prosecutor — was able to meet with the Trump campaign in June 2016 at a time when her permission to stay in the United States had expired.
  • The Whim called Grassley’s office to discuss the matter, but he was not immediately available for comment.
  • The Justice Department, as well as the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, is examining whether any of President Trump’s associates colluded with the Russian government to disrupt last year’s election.

The Context

  • On 8 July, the New York Times first reported that a meeting occurred between Donald Trump Jr., Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Jared Kushner, and then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort in June 2016.
  • On Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted images of emails accompanied by a personal statement relating to the meeting.

  • Trump Jr. tweeted the email chain after he was reportedly told by the New York Times that the publication had access to the emails and was working on a story about them.

  • The emails with British music publicist, Rob Goldstone, who coordinated the meeting, show that Trump Jr. was told that the Russian government had information that “would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia” and “would be very useful to your father.”
    • President Trump and Goldstone have known each other for several years. Goldstone represents Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop-star, who has been pictured with President Trump at his Florida golf course.
    • Trump also appeared in a music video with Agalarov, and the family helped host Trump’s 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow.

  • Days after the 2016 Presidential Election, Goldstone instagrammed a photo with him wearing a shirt that says “RUSSIA” on it. He also checked into Trump Tower on Facebook the day of the meeting (h/t Business Insider).
    • According to the Guardian, Goldstone’s Instagram shows he made at least 19 visits to Russia since the spring of 2013, and he once described Moscow as his second home. His posts show he was in Moscow 10 days before the meeting at Trump Tower.
  • In an interview with NBC News on Tuesday, the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, denied having incriminating information on Clinton or that the purpose of the meeting was to present such information. Veselnitskaya said:

“I never had any damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton. It was never my intention to have that.”

  • Trump Jr. corroborated this account of the meeting in his statement prefacing his tweets releasing the email chain: “She had no information to provide and just wanted to discuss the adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act.”

Responses

  • In a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, President Trump defended his son, calling the meeting “standard campaign practice.”
  • The president also addressed the situation on Twitter, writing on Wednesday:

  • Rep. Elijah Cummings (Maryland), the Ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, wrote a letter calling for Kushner’s security clearance to be suspended citing a “whole series of activities,” including “concerns about Mr. Kushner’s activities prior to the inauguration.”
  • Attorney Alan Dershowitz discussed the legality of the meeting in an interview with Fox Business:

  • Rep. Adam Schiff (California), the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted:

Ken Silverstein and Laila Elagizy contributed to this report. 

The Whim News Team
AUTHOR

The Whim News Desk

We'd rather be second and accurate than be first and wrong. The Whim News Desk is a dedicated team of researchers and investigators committed to presenting the news without bias. Follow us @TheWhimOnline for daily news coverage without the spin!

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