Donald Jnr admits his father may have helped draft misleading statement on Trump Tower meeting

Donald Trump Junior has admitted his father may have helped draft a misleading statement about his Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer.

The 2016 meeting saw Trump campaign officials, including Donald Jnr, meeting with Kremlin-linked figures after they offered political dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

When details of the meeting came to light after Mr Trump’s election, his office put out a statement saying the meeting "primarily discussed a program abut the adoption of Russian children".

A Senate panel has released documents on the Trump Tower meeting suggesting Mr Trump dictated the statement, meaning he may have been misleading the press.  

The 2,500 pages of transcripts detail interviews with key aides involved in the 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, including Donald Jnr, the president’s eldest son.

Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya Credit:

Ms Veselnitskaya initially insisted that she acted independently of the Russian government when she visited Trump Tower. But more recently, she has described herself as a Kremlin informant.

The documents released on Wednesday reveal how Donald Jnr, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and his campaign chairman Paul Manafort were expecting to receive explosive information from Ms Veselnitskaya.

Rob Goldstone, the British music publicist who arranged the meeting, told the Senate Judiciary committee he was anticipating a "smoking gun" from Ms Veselnitskaya when he urged the president’s son to take the meeting, even though he thought it was a "bad idea and that we shouldn’t do it."

Donald Jnr, who emailed Mr Goldstone ahead of the meeting saying "if it’s what you say I love it", told the Senate panel he was interested in "listening to information" about Mrs Clinton during the meeting. "I had no way of assessing where it came from, but I was willing to listen," he said.

Donald Jnr has repeatedly said he did not know of any direct involvement by his father in drafting an explanation for the meeting that subsequently turned out to be untrue.

But he told the Senate panel that "he may have commented through Hope Hicks", his former spokeswoman.

However on a number of other questions, Donald Jnr was less forthcoming, including on questions about whether his father uses a blocked phone number. 

His phone records show that he called a blocked number before and after calls with a Russian Aras Agalarov – a friend of President Vladmir Putin – arranging the meeting, and again on the night of the meeting.

Mr Trump said he could not remember who was on the other end of the calls. “I don’t know,” he responded when asked whether his father used a blocked number. 

Mr Trump also said he could not recalled whether he was alarmed that he had been offered incriminating information about Mrs Clinton. 

“I don’t know that it alarmed me, but like I said, I don’t know and I don’t know that I was all that focused on it at the time,” he said.

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