Donald Trump Jr. on His Russian Contacts

Donald Trump Jr. on His Russian Contacts During the 2016 Campaign

THEN
NOW


March 2017
July 2017

Donald Trump Jr Meeting Russians Then
Donald Trump Jr Meeting Russians Now


Meet Russians during campaign? #DonaldTrumpJr 3/17: "None that were set up." » #TrumpJr 7/17: "We had a meeting in June 2016 ❲with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer❳." #TrumpRussia Click To Tweet

Donald Trump Jr. on His Russian Contacts During the 2016 Campaign

THEN

March 2017

Donald Trump Jr Meeting Russians Then
“Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did. But none that were set up… And certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form…
“A hundred percent no [I did not discuss Russia-related U.S. policy with Russians].”
- March 2017

New York Times, July 8, 2017
Trump Team Met With Lawyer Linked to Kremlin During Campaign

(retrieved 6/24/18)

NOW

July 2017

Donald Trump Jr Meeting Russians Now
“It was a short introductory meeting [with a Russian lawyer]. I asked Jared [Kushner] and Paul [Manafort] to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.”
July 8, 2017 -

New York Times, July 9, 2017
Donald Trump Jr.'s Two Different Explanations for Russian Meeting

(retrieved 6/24/18)
“I was asked to have a meeting…with an individual [Russian lawyer] who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign… I asked Jared and Paul to attend… We had a meeting in June 2016… The woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton
“The woman mentioned the [Russia-related] Magnitsky Act. 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.”
July 9, 2017 -

New York Times, July 9, 2017
Donald Trump Jr.'s Two Different Explanations for Russian Meeting

(retrieved 6/24/18)
“Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent.”

On July 10, 2017, the New York Times told Donald Trump Jr. that they going to publish the email chain wherein he and Rob Goldstone set up the June, 2016 Trump Tower meeting and requested a comment. Instead of responding to the New York Times Trump Jr. posted the email chain on Twitter first “in order to be totally transparent.”
“To everyone, in order to be totally transparent, I am releasing the entire email chain of my emails with Rob Goldstone about the meeting on June 9, 2016. The first email on June 3, 2016 was from Rob, who was relating a request from Emin, a person I knew from the 2013 Ms. Universe pageant near Moscow. Emin and his father have a very highly respected company in Moscow. The information they suggested they had about Hillary Clinton I thought was Political Opposition Research. I first wanted to just have a phone call but when that didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet. I decided to take the meeting. The woman, as she has said publicly, was not a government official… she had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act.”


Meet Russians during campaign? #DonaldTrumpJr 3/17: "❲Not❳ representing the campaign." » #TrumpJr 7/17: "Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent." Click To Tweet

Context: The June 2016 Trump Tower Meeting

On June 9, 2016, Donald Trump Jr., his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in New York City. A friend of Trump Jr.’s, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, proposed the meeting to Trump Jr. via his publicist, Rob Goldstone. Goldstone told Trump Jr. that “the Crown prosecutor of Russia” was offering to give the Trump campaign damaging information about Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” “If it’s what you say I love it,” responded Trump Jr, and the two proceeded to set up the June 9, 2016, meeting between members of the Trump campaign and a woman (Veselnitskaya) that Goldstone described to Trump Jr. as a “Russian government attorney.”1New York Times, July 11, 2017
Russian Dirt on Clinton? ‘I Love It,’ Donald Trump Jr. Said
retrieved 6/24/18
2New York Times, July 11, 2017
Read the Emails on Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting
retrieved 6/24/18

Eight people are known to have attended the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting. In addition to Trump Jr., Manafort, Kushner, Veselnitskaya, and Goldstone, Veselnitskaya invited translator translator Anatoli Samochornov and her business associate Rinat Akhmetshin, who is a Soviet-born Russian-American pro-Russia lobbyist with a history of working with Soviet counterintelligence and involvement in computer hacking operations for Russian oligarchs. Irakly Kaveladze, a Soviet-born Russian-American with a history of US/Russia money laundering, attended representing Emin Agalarov and his father Aras Agalarov, who is a Russian real estate oligarch and friend and business associate of Donald Trump.3Washington Post, July 18, 2017
Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified
retrieved 6/24/18

According to Akhmetshin, Veselnitskaya brought documents to the meeting that detailed what she characterized as illicit funds flowing to the Democrats, but as she did not have sufficient evidence to back up her claims Trump Jr. quickly lost interest.4Associated Press, July 14, 2017
Russian-American lobbyist says he was at Trump son’s meeting
retrieved 6/24/18
He also said Veselnitskaya left behind a document with the Trump associates describing the allegations: “It was corporate stuff – lawyerly stuff.”5New York Times, July 18, 2017
What We Know About Donald
Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting

retrieved 6/24/18
6Washington Post, July 18, 2017
Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified
retrieved 6/24/18

Kaveladze said the meeting lasted about 30 minutes and mostly involved discussion of the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 U.S. law that bars Russians suspected of human rights abuses from entering the U.S. and freezes their foreign assets. (Many Russians affected by the Magnitsky Act are connected to the Russian government and much of Vladimir Putin‘s wealth is believed to be tied up in those assets; in retaliation for the Magnitsky Act Putin stopped the American adoption of Russian children.)7Washington Post, July 18, 2017
Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified
retrieved 6/24/18
8Business Insider, July 17, 2018
Putin hinted he wanted Trump to give him access to one man — and it reveals his greatest weakness
retrieved 8/2/18

Go Deeper: Click to see Trump Jr's Evolving Story About and the Origins of the Trump Tower Meeting

The Origins of and Trump Jr’s Evolving Story About the Trump Tower Meeting

In an interview with the New York Times in March, 2017 Trump Jr. had denied meeting with Russians in meetings that were “set up” or campaign-related: “Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did. But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.” Trump Jr. then also denied that he had discussed government policies related to Russia with Russians: “A hundred percent no.”9New York Times, July 8, 2017
Trump Team Met With Lawyer Linked to Kremlin During Campaign
retrieved 6/24/18

On July 7, 2017 the New York Times presented Trump Jr. with findings that he, Kushner, and Manafort met with Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016 and asked him for a response. On July 8, 2017 Trump Jr. responded with a memo that stated in part: “It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children… I… was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.”10New York Times, July 8, 2017
Trump Team Met With Lawyer Linked to Kremlin During Campaign
retrieved 6/24/18

Click to see Trump Jr.'s first Trump Tower Meeting memo (July 8, 2017)

Trump Jr.’s first Trump Tower Meeting memo (July 8, 2017)

It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up.

I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.11New York Times, July 9, 2017
Donald Trump Jr.’s Two Different Explanations for Russian Meeting
retrieved 6/24/18

The following day, after he was presented with findings that he was promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton before agreeing to the meeting, Trump Jr. modified his story. He issued a second memo stating: I was asked to have a meeting…with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign… We had a meeting in June 2016. After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton… It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.” He said Veselnitskaya then turned the conversation to the adoption of Russian children and the Magnitsky Act. “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.” He also said he asked Manafort and Kushner to attend but did not tell them what the meeting was about.12New York Times, July 9, 2017
Trump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on Clinton
retrieved 8/2/18

Click to see Trump Jr.'s second Trump Tower Meeting memo (July 9, 2017)

Trump Jr.’s second Trump Tower Meeting memo (July 9, 2017)

I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign. I was not told her name prior to the meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to attend, but told them nothing of the substance. We had a meeting in June 2016. After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. 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. She then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act. 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. I interrupted and advised her that my father was not an elected official, but rather a private citizen, and that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office. The meeting lasted approximately 20 to 30 minutes. As it ended, my acquaintance apologized for taking up our time. That was the end of it and there was no further contact or follow-up of any kind. My father knew nothing of the meeting or these events.13New York Times, July 9, 2017
Donald Trump Jr.’s Two Different Explanations for Russian Meeting
retrieved 6/24/18

Two days later, on July 10, 2017, the New York Times told Trump Jr. that they about to publish the email chain wherein he and Rob Goldstone set up the Trump Tower meeting; instead of responding to a request for comment Trump Jr. posted the email chain on Twitter first “in order to be totally transparent.”14Donald Trump Jr. (Twitter), July 9, 2017
“Here’s my statement and the full email chain”
retrieved 6/24/18
15Donald Trump Jr. (Twitter), July 9, 2017
“Here is page 4 (which did not post due to space constraints).”
retrieved 6/24/18

In the email exchange Goldstone – an acquaintance of the Trumps who worked with the 2013 Miss Universe pageant that Donald Trump put on in Moscow in 2013 – told Trump Jr. that he was writing on behalf of a mutual friend and client of Goldstone’s, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov. Emin Agalarov is the son of billionaire Russian real estate developer Aras Agalarov, who is a close Putin associate and personal friend and business associate of Donald Trump. Goldstone explained to Trump Jr. that the Agalarovs were offering to provide the Trump campaign with information that would “incriminate” Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,”

responded Trump Jr., and the two proceeded to set up the Trump Tower meeting.16New York Times, July 11, 2017
Russian Dirt on Clinton? ‘I Love It,’ Donald Trump Jr. Said
retrieved 6/24/18
17New York Times, July 11, 2017
Read the Emails on Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting
retrieved 6/24/18

Show Excerpts from the Trump Jr./Goldstone Trump Tower Meeting Email Exchange

Excerpts from the Trump Jr./Goldstone Trump Tower Meeting Email Exchange

Rob Goldstone [ Jun 3, 2016 10:36 AM]:

“Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting. The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin… I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.”

Donald Trump Jr. [ Jun 3, 2016 10:53]:

“Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?”

Rob Goldstone [ Jun 6, 2016 12:40 AM]:

“Let me know when you are free to talk with Emin by phone about this Hillary info – you had mentioned early this week so wanted to try to schedule a time and day”

Donald Trump Jr. [ Jun 6, 2016 15:53]:

“Rob could we speak now?”

Rob Goldstone [ Jun 6, 2016 3:43 PM]:

“Ok he’s on stage in Moscow but should be off within 20 Minutes so I am sure can call”

Donald Trump Jr. [ Jun 6, 2016 16:38]:

“Rob thanks for the help.”

Rob Goldstone [ Jun 7, 2016 4:20 PM]:

“Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday. I believe you are aware of the meeting – and so wondered if 3pm or later on Thursday works for you? I assume it would be at your office.”

Donald Trump Jr. [ Jun 7, 2016 5:16 PM]:

“How about 3 at our offices? Thanks rob appreciate you helping set it up.”18New York Times, July 11, 2017
Read the Emails on Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting
retrieved 6/24/18

Here is a screenshot of Rob Goldstone checking into the Trump Tower meeting on Facebook:

Rob Goldstone checking into the Trump Tower meeting on Facebook


Discuss Russia-related policy with Russians during campaign? #DonaldTrumpJr 3/17: "A hundred percent no." » #TrumpJr 7/17: "❲The Russian lawyer❳ mentioned the ❲Russia-related❳ Magnitsky Act." Click To Tweet
LATER

Sept 2017 – Aug 2018

Donald Trump Jr. Now

“My phone records show three very short phone calls between Emin and me between June 6th and 7th. I do not recall speaking to Emin. It is possible that we left each other voice mail messages. I simply do not remember.”
Sept 7, 2017 -

Senate Judiciary Committee hearing

Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept. 7, 2017
Interview Of: Donald J. Trump, Jr. Thursday, September 7, 2017

(retrieved 6/24/18)

On September 7, 2017, before Senate Judiciary Committee, Trump Jr. testified that he could not remember if he talked to Emin Agalarov before the meeting on either June 6 or 7, 2016, as the email chain between him and Rob Goldstone and his phone records seem to indicate. Trump Jr.’s phone records also indicated that he talked to someone with a blocked phone number during the same time period; Trump Jr. testified that he could not remember who that person was either.19Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept. 7, 2017
Interview Of: Donald J. Trump, Jr. Thursday, September 7, 2017 (pdf)
retrieved 6/24/18

In a July 10, 2018, interview with Vice, Emin Agalarov said he talked to Trump Jr. before the meeting:


Emin Agalarov Now

“I said, ‘Listen, there’s some people that want to meet you.’ They obviously want something that could potentially help them resolve things that you could be interested in or maybe not. If you can spare a few minutes of your time, I’d be grateful. If not, no problem.”
July 10, 2018 -

On July 27, 2018, sources close to Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, said Cohen claims that Trump knew in advance about and approved going ahead with the Trump Tower meeting, contradicting repeated claims by Trump, Trump Jr., their lawyers, and other Trump administration officials that Trump did not have advance knowledge of the meeting.20CNN, July 27, 2018
Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting
retrieved 8/28/18


Donald Trump Now

“I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr.”

“Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”

THEN

June 7, 2016

Hours after his son set up the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting with the intention of getting damaging information on Hillary Clinton from a “Russian government attorney” Donald Trump publicly announced:

Donald Trump Then

“I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons… It’s a sad day in America when foreign governments with deep pockets have more influence in our own country than our great citizens.”
- June 7, 2016

TIME, June 7, 2016
Read Donald Trump's Subdued Victory Speech After Winning New Jersey

(retrieved 6/24/18)
starts at beginning

Trump never gave that “major speech.”

July 19, 2017

On July 7, 2017, after Trump Jr. was presented with findings that he, Kushner, and Manafort met with Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, Donald Trump met with Putin twice: first officially in the afternoon and later informally during a formal G20 summit dinner. The later meeting not publicly revealed until more than a week later via other G20 summit attendees, and no substantial record reportedly exists of either meeting. On July 19, 2017 Trump provided this characterization of the later meeting:

Donald Trump Then

“So the meal was going, and toward dessert I went down just to say hello to Melania, and while I was there I said hello to Putin. Really, pleasantries more than anything else. It was not a long conversation, but it was, you know, could be 15 minutes. Just talked about — things. Actually, it was very interesting, we talked about adoption… We talked about Russian adoption. Yeah. I always found that interesting. Because, you know, he ended that years ago. And I actually talked about Russian adoption with him, which is interesting because it was a part of the conversation that Don [Trump Jr.] had in that meeting.

“As I’ve said — most other people, you know, when they call up and say, ‘By the way, we have information on your opponent,’ I think most politicians — I was just with a lot of people, they said [inaudible], ‘Who wouldn’t have taken a meeting like that?‘… A lot of [senators]. They said, ‘Who wouldn’t have taken a meeting like that?’… a couple of them. They — now, that was before Russia was hot, don’t forget. You know, Russia wasn’t hot then. That was almost a year and a half ago. It wasn’t like it is, like it is radioactive, then. Russia was Russia.

“I never saw the email [between Trump Jr. and Goldstone]. I never saw the email until, you know——”
- July 29, 2017

New York Times, July 19, 2017
Excerpts From The Times’s Interview With Trump

(retrieved 6/24/18)
starts at beginning


Meet Russians during campaign? #DonaldTrumpJr 3/17: "None that were set up." » #TrumpJr 7/17: "I was asked to have a meeting ❲with a Russian lawyer❳…who I was told might have information ❲damaging to❳ Clinton." Click To Tweet