Trump son said he would ‘love’ Russian dirt on Clinton

Donald-Trump-JrWASHINGTON: Donald Trump’s eldest son released emails Tuesday showing he embraced Russia’s efforts to support his father’s presidential campaign, admitting he would “love” to get dirt from Moscow on Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump Jr was told by an interlocutor that he could get “very high level and sensitive information” that was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

The 39-year-old Trump — who now runs the family real estate business in his father’s stead — responded “if it’s what you say I love it” and set up a meeting with a “Russian government attorney,” according to the emails.

The email chain was released in its entirety by Donald Jr on his Twitter account, in a move that jolted Washington, and added fuel to the political firestorm swirling over allegations that Trump’s campaign team colluded with Moscow to influence the 2016 election.

Later Tuesday, Trump Jr told Fox News that he did not tell his father about the meeting, after the talk failed to yield compromising information about Clinton, Trump’s 2016 election rival.

“It was just a nothing. There was nothing to tell,” the son told Fox host Sean Hannity.

But he also appeared to acknowledge the misstep.

“In retrospect I probably would have done things a little differently,” he said.

“For me this was opposition research, they had something, you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I’d been hearing about,” Trump Jr went on.

“So I think I wanted to hear it out. But really it went nowhere.”

US intelligence agencies concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a mass effort to tilt the election in Trump’s favor, including hacking and leaking embarrassing emails from Democrats.

The latest disclosure now thrusts the president’s son to the center of multiple US investigations by Congress and by the FBI as to whether Trump’s team was in the know.

In a statement accompanying the emails, Donald Jr said he believed the Russian lawyer, “as she has said publicly, was not a government official.”

Trump jumped to his son’s defense, saying in a statement: “My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency.”

‘Incriminate Hillary’

Donald Jr had initially dismissed the meeting he arranged with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, as having to do with adoptions, but then offered shifting explanations as more details emerged.

In the emails released Tuesday, Rob Goldstone — a publicist close to the Trumps — tells Donald Jr that he has learned of a Russian offer of compromising material on Clinton from a pop singer he represented, Emin Agalarov.

“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,” Goldstone wrote in a June 3, 2016 email.

“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,” he added.

Donald Jr responded less than 20 minutes later, according to the chain of emails entitled “Russia – Clinton – private and confidential.”

“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.”

Veselnitskaya is referred to in the exchange as “the Russian government attorney.”

In an interview with NBC News, Veselnitskaya said: “It’s possible that maybe they were looking for such information” about the Clinton campaign.

“They wanted it so badly,” she added.

‘Potentially treason’

Clinton’s vice presidential running mate Tim Kaine described the revelations Tuesday as moving toward more serious charges of perjury and “potentially treason.”

“This should have set off alarm bells and red lights and instead, what it seemed to do is it activated their salivary glands,” Kaine, a US senator, said in a separate interview with MSNBC.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden went further, saying the emails “show there is no longer a question of whether this campaign sought to collude with a hostile foreign power to subvert America’s democracy.”

“The question is how far the coordination goes,” Wyden added.

Vice President Mike Pence’s office issued a statement saying he was unaware of the meeting, in what appeared to be a bid to distance himself from the matter.

The New York Times reported that Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, two of Trump’s most trusted campaign officials, also attended last year’s meeting with Veselnitskaya.

The Kremlin has said it “did not know who” Veselnitskaya was.

“We can’t be aware of all the meetings Russian lawyers have abroad,” said spokesman Dmitry Peskov.