In an interview Tuesday with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Donald Trump Jr. acknowledged that he “probably would have done things a little differently” when he met with a Russian attorney during his father’s presidential campaign in June 2016.
However, the president’s eldest son also described the meeting as “a nothing,” telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity, “I wouldn’t have even remembered it until you started scouring through this stuff. It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame.”
The complete interview can be seen Tuesday at 10 p.m. on Fox News Channel. This interview is the first public statement by Donald Trump Jr. since he tweeted out “the entire email chain” of his conversations with music publicist Rod Goldstone setting up a meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya.
In one of the emails, Goldstone told Trump Jr. that Russian officials were offering “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton]” as part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Trump Jr.’s response email read, in part, “if it’s what you say I love it.”
“I had been reading about scandals that people were probably underreporting for a long time, so maybe it was something that had to do with one of those things,” Trump Jr. told Hannity when asked about his reaction to Goldstone’s email. “I didn’t know if there was any credibility, I didn’t know if there was anything behind it, I can’t vouch for the information. Someone sent me an email. I can’t help what someone sends me. I read it, I responded accordingly.”
Trump Jr. posted the messages in the wake of a series of New York Times reports that revealed more details of the meeting with Veselnitskaya, which was also attended by Paul Manafort, Trump’s then-campaign manager, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
“For me this was opposition research,” Trump Jr. said. “They had something, you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I’d been hearing about … so I think I wanted to hear it out. But really it went nowhere and it was apparent that wasn’t what the meeting was about.”
The Times claimed that Trump Jr. tweeted images of the emails after “he was told NYT was about to publish the contents of the emails.”
The emails between Trump Jr. and Goldstone do not contain any evidence that the president’s son was informed of the larger alleged Russian effort to meddle in the U.S. presidential election.