The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., acknowledged attending a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer tied to the Kremlin, one of the first confirmed encounters between President Trump’s inner circle and a Russian national during the presidential campaign.
In a statement distributed Saturday evening, Trump Jr. confirmed he had participated in a “short introductory meeting,” which, per his request, was also attended by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and the chair of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort.
“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 that time and there was no follow-up,” Trump Jr. said in the statement. “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.”
The meeting was reported Saturday by the New York Times.
Kushner’s lawyer said in a statement that the president’s son-in-law had disclosed the session previously on his security clearance forms. But the new public report adds to the roster of curious private meetings between Trump allies and Russians during and after the campaign.
The meeting between the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and the president’s inner circle became public the day after President Trump met in Germany with Russian President Vladimir #Putin for the first time. Trump questioned Putin about Russian meddling during the 2016 election; the Russian leader denied any such interference.