The Latest: Trump Jr. denies collusion with Russia
Posted September 7
WASHINGTON — The Latest on Donald Trump Jr.'s private interview Thursday with Senate Judiciary Committee staff (all times local):
Donald Trump Jr. says he met with a Russian lawyer last year simply to learn about Hillary Clinton's "fitness, character or qualifications," insisting he did not collude with Russia to hurt her campaign against his father.
Senate investigators interviewed the president's son behind closed doors Thursday.
Trump Jr. described the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York in a statement at the outset of the Senate panel's interview.
He says he was just being polite when he emailed "I love it" to Rob Goldstone, the publicist who was setting up the meeting with a Russian who was said to have election-season dirt on Clinton.
Trump Jr. says it was "simply a colloquial way of saying that I appreciated Rob's gesture."
The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee says Donald Trump Jr.'s appearance before another congressional panel "raises more questions than it answers."
Trump Jr. sat for more than five hours Thursday for a private interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, says Trump Jr.'s statement leaves a different impression about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower than his initial statements did.
The meeting was with a Russian lawyer, among others.
Schiff says the new statement makes clear that Trump Jr. viewed as significant the chance of receiving negative information about Hillary Clinton. And Schiff says the fact that Trump Jr. says he recognized that he should consult a lawyer means he knew there were questions about whether the meeting was proper.
Donald Trump Jr. says he answered all the questions he faced from Senate lawmakers and their staffs during a private interview.
The president's oldest son says in a statement that he met for more than five hours Thursday with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He says, "I trust this interview fully satisfied their inquiry." It wasn't clear if that meant that he would decline to appear for a public hearing before the committee.
Trump Jr. says the meeting was part of the committee's "ongoing investigation into potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act." But the private session also focused extensively on a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that Trump Jr. had with a Russian lawyer and other people.
Donald Trump Jr. has told Senate Judiciary Committee staff that he didn't inform his father, President Donald Trump, about a 2016 meeting that he and others on the Trump campaign held with a Russian lawyer.
That's according to a person with knowledge of what was said in Thursday's staff interview. The person declined to be identified because the meeting was private.
Trump Jr. said he didn't know or didn't recall the details of White House involvement in his response to the first reports of the 2016 meeting, the source said. The Washington Post reported in July that the president dictated a statement saying the meeting primarily concerned a Russian adoption program.
Emails released later by Trump Jr. show he was told that he would receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
— By Mary Clare Jalonick
President Donald Trump's eldest son has left Capitol Hill after speaking with Senate investigators for about five hours.
That's according to Taylor Foy, spokesman for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Trump Jr. met with the committee for a closed door interview where he was questioned about a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
The meeting was described to Trump Jr. in emails as part of a Russian government effort to aid his father's campaign.
Congressional committees and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have been scrutinizing the meeting as part of investigations into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and any possible coordination with Trump associates.
Trump Jr. says in a statement to the committee that neither he nor anyone else he knows colluded with any foreign government during the presidential campaign.
Donald Trump's eldest son has told Senate staffers he was open to receiving information about Hillary Clinton's "fitness, character or qualifications" when he accepted a meeting with a Russian lawyer last year.
Donald Trump Jr. made the comment in an opening statement delivered Thursday to staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was interviewing Trump Jr. privately.
The statement focused on the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower involving Trump Jr., the Russian lawyer and others.
He also says that neither he nor anyone he knows colluded with any foreign government.
The New York Times was first to report on Trump Jr.'s prepared statement.
President Donald Trump's eldest son has arrived on Capitol Hill for a private interview with Senate staffers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Donald Trump Jr. is expected to face hours of questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee staff.
A person familiar with the process says Trump Jr. provided an opening statement of about 15 to 20 minutes before the closed-door interview began. The person was not authorized to discuss confidential committee business and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Questioning is expected to focus on a 2016 meeting that involved Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer, among others. Emails released in July show that Trump Jr. was told before the meeting that it was part of a Russian government effort to help his father.
A Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee says he wants to hear more from Donald Trump Jr. about his meeting with a Russian lawyer last year.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal says on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" he wants to know more, adding that it is "equally important" to learn what happened afterward. He says his fear is the meeting was a "prelude or overture to more coordinated activity" between the Trump campaign and Russia and says he wants to know if "afterward there was obstruction of justice."
Staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of three congressional panels conducting investigations, plan to privately interview the younger Trump Thursday. Blumenthal plans to attend.
The senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says questions remain about a meeting Donald Trump Jr. had with a Russian lawyer in June 2016.
Congressman Adam Schiff said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" he wants to know what happened before, during and after the meeting. Emails show the meeting was described to Trump Jr. as part of a Russian government effort to aid the Trump campaign.
The president's oldest son is scheduled to speak privately Thursday with Senate committee staff investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Schiff says the House committee also expects to interview him.
The California lawmaker adds that he has questions for Facebook, which said Wednesday that hundreds of phony Facebook accounts, likely run from Russia, spent about $100,000 on ads aimed at stirring up divisive issues.
President Donald Trump's eldest son is scheduled to make his first appearance on Capitol Hill Thursday as part of a Senate investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election and a meeting he had with Russians during his father's campaign last year.
Donald Trump Jr. will be interviewed by staff on the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of three congressional panels investigating the meddling and possible Russian links to Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
Emails released by Trump Jr. earlier this year show he took the meeting expecting he would be receiving damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to aid the Trump campaign.
Committee staff is expected to focus on the 2016 meeting but could also probe any possible Trump family connections to Russia.