A meeting between President Donald Trump’s eldest son and a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign occurred at the behest of a Moscow-based singer with family ties to Mr. Trump’s businesses, according to a participant in the talks. Donald Trump Jr. acknowledged on Monday he made time for the meeting hoping to get information about Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The circumstances surrounding the meeting, and a report by The New York Times late on Monday that Trump Jr. was told ahead of time that the source of the information was the Russian government, fuelled new questions about the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Moscow, which are being scrutinised by federal and congressional investigators.
The New York Times reported that Trump Jr., who was a key campaign adviser to his father, was told the Russian government was behind the information on Ms. Clinton in an email from music publicist Rob Goldstone. The Times cited three unnamed people with knowledge of the email.
The report is the first public word that Trump Jr. took the meeting with the understanding that he would be presented with damaging information about his father’s political opponent and that the material could have emanated from the Kremlin.
Mr. Goldstone spoke to The Associated Press earlier on Monday to confirm he had set up the meeting on behalf of his client, Emin Agalarov, but he did not disclose the contents of the email described by the Times. Mr. Goldstone did not immediately respond to attempts to contact him on Monday night.
In a statement, Trump Jr.’s New York-based attorney Alan Futerfas called the Times report “much ado about nothing,” though he acknowledged his client had received an email from Goldstone to set up a meeting with the purpose of passing along damaging information on Ms. Clinton. His statement did not dispute the Times report on the email.
Mr. Futerfas said Trump Jr. was not told the specifics of the information and nothing came of the meeting. “The bottom line is that Don, Jr. did nothing wrong,” Mr. Futerfas said in the statement, noting that the younger Trump hasn’t been contacted by any congressional committees or Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
The White House referred questions to the President’s son. Mark Corallo, a spokesman for President Donald Trump’s outside legal team, would not comment on the Times story, reiterating only that Mr. Trump “was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.”