First family scion and master of subtlety Donald Trump Jr. was offered anti-Clinton intelligence from a business contact connected with the Russian government last summer, according to a New York Times report out today. Here’s what that email said, per the Times report:
The documents “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” read the email, written by a trusted intermediary, who added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Donald Trump Jr., in response to the story, tweeted out what he claimed was “the full email chain,” but which obviously left out the first email in question. Moments later, he sent out the original email and his first response:
As you see, the full text of the email from Rob Goldstone reads:
Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.
The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father 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 and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?
I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.
The “Emin” in question is Emin Agalarov, a pop star and singer in Russia. His father, Aras Agalarov, is a real estate tycoon in the country who has “won several large state building contracts,” and was awarded the Order of Honor of the Russian Federation by none other than Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump made a cameo appearance in one of Emin Agalarov's music videos.
Here was Trump Jr.'s response:
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?
Now, you may be asking yourself—why on earth would Trump Jr. admit to this? Why would he release the emails, which corroborate everything the Times was saying and seem to implicate him in treasonous activity with a foreign government? The exchange led to a meeting between Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort with a Russian attorney named Natalia Veselnitskaya (a meeting the paper previously reported).
The answer, of course, is that the Times reached out to Trump Jr. for comment, and releasing the emails was his attempt to get in front of the story. He also released a statement attempting to explain the meeting. He said:
“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. And, as we have said, she had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act. To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue. As Rob Goldstone said just today in the press, the entire meeting was “the most inane nonsense I ever heard. And I was actually agitated by it.”
Whether or not the information about the meeting is true, Trump Jr.'s contention that he thought the potential information was simply “Political Opposition Research” doesn't stand up, since Goldstone explicitly told him in the original email that it came directly from the “Crown prosecutor” of Russia.
As the Times points out, that's not a real title, but closest equivalent is Prosecutor General, an office held by Yury Yakovlevich Chaika, who is “known to be close to Ms. Veselnitskaya.”
Goldstone had previously told the Times that he didn't know whether Aras Agalarov had any role in setting up the meeting. The emails released today directly contradict that statement. Goldstone has not since spoken with the Times to resolve the apparent contradictions.
Veselnitskaya told the Times that the meeting involved “nothing at all about the presidential campaign.” Trump Jr., however, in an initial statement, said that “she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton.”
Trump Jr. and Goldstone continue to insist that nothing substantive came out of the meeting. Minutes after the meeting apparently concluded, Donald Trump himself tweeted out the following: