Donald Trump Jr. “did nothing wrong” when he met last year with a Russian lawyer who had ties to the Kremlin, his lawyer said Monday.
Trump Jr. was told via email that the meeting to discuss potentially damaging information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was part of Moscow’s effort to boost his father’s White House bid, The New York Times reported Monday night.
But Alan Futerfas, a New York criminal defense attorney representing the president’s son, dismissed the report as “much ado about nothing.”
Trump Jr. said Sunday that an acquaintance from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, which was held in Moscow, had asked him to have a meeting with someone who “might have information helpful to the campaign.” He invited his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to attend the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower but said he wasn’t given the name of the person he was meeting with.
“Robert Goldstone contacted Don, Jr. in an email and suggested that people had information concerning alleged wrongdoing by Democratic Party front-runner, Hillary Clinton, in her dealings with Russia,” Futerfas said in a statement Monday. “Don Jr.’s takeaway from this communication was that someone had information potentially helpful to the campaign and it was coming from someone he knew. Don Jr. had no knowledge as to what specific information, if any, would be discussed.”
“Further, at no time was there ever any understanding or commitment that he, or anyone else, would find the information, whatever it turned out to be, to be reliable, credible or of interest, or would even survive due diligence,” he continued. “The meeting lasted about 20-30 minutes, and nothing came of it. His father knew nothing about it. The bottom line is that Don, Jr. did nothing wrong.”
The White House has taken a similar position, with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus calling the meeting “a big nothing burger” Sunday, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway and deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisting Monday that no one from the campaign colluded with Russian officials.
Members of investigative congressional panels looking into Russia’s role in the 2016 campaign, including possible collusion, have said their committees should interview Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort.
Futerfas said Trump Jr. hasn’t received any requests from congressional panels or any other offices but is willing to “work with any committee or office to convey what he knows.”