UPDATED with Trump Jr. statement on meeting: Setting the stage for tonight’s late-night monologues, Donald Trump Jr. today declared he’d actually met with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton during the presidential election in order to determine Clinton’s fitness for office.
President Donald Trump’s son gave this latest explanation for the meeting in a statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee, whose staffers grilled him behind closed doors today for more than five hours.
When contacted by music producer Rob Goldstone asking if he was interested in meeting with the lawyer and getting the dirt, Trump Jr. had emailed back “I love it.” In his statement to the committee first obtained by the New York Times, Junior says that’s just his way of talking.
“To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character, or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out,” Trump Jr told staffers of the Trump Tower meeting. “Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration.”
Said Trump Jr in a statement later in the day: “I answered every question posed by the committee related to this topic as well as all of their questions on other topics, until both sides had exhausted their lines of questioning. I trust this interview fully satisfied their inquiry.”
In the first-of-many explanations, Junior had dismissed the meeting, also attended by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort, as a sit-down to discuss U.S. adoption policy.