Politics

Donald Trump Jr. Just Released Self-Incriminating Emails on His Russian Ties

A damaging series of revelations for Donald Trump Jr. got even worse on Monday and Tuesday, when the New York Times reported that the president's son was sent an email before his meeting with a Russian lawyer telling him that the Russian government was specifically trying to aid his father's candidacy.

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The emails are here!

While the original Times story didn't have the email, only descriptions from three people who'd seen it, Trump Jr. published the email string himself on Tuesday morning, attempting to get out ahead of the Times publishing detailed accounts of the emails, a story that came out at almost exactly the same time.

Over the weekend, the Times revealed that Trump Jr., then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with deep Kremlin connection, on June 9, 2016 at Trump Tower. After first claiming that the meeting was only related to restoring a Russian adoption program, Trump Jr. then admitted the meeting was brokered by a mutual acquaintance because Veselnitskaya claimed to have damaging information about the Hillary Clinton campaign.

On Monday night, the Times revealed that the intermediary who set up the meeting between Trump's campaign and Veselnitskaya, a British music publicist named Rob Goldstone, had emailed Trump Jr. to explicitly tell him that the information she was offering was part of a Russian government attempt to help Trump win.

The next morning, Trump Jr. released the emails, tweeting four pages of emails with Goldstone in over two tweets.

On June 3, six days before the meeting, Goldstone wrote Trump Jr. to say that a mutual acquaintance told him that “the crown prosecutor of Russia” (there is no such position in the Russian government) had offered “to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father."

Goldstone also makes clear that the information was "obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump."

Just 15 minutes later, Trump Jr. wrote back, "if it's what you say I love it, especially later in the summer."

A subsequent email from Goldstone makes it clear that the Trump campaign would be meeting with a "Russian government attorney," which contradicts both numerous Trump campaign admonitions that they'd never met with anyone from Russia, and Veselnitskaya's own denial that she offered up dirt on the Clinton campaign.

The stunning email release was a stark contrast from the defensive tone that Trump Jr. had taken over the last few days, accusing the "media and Dems" of being "desperate," and retweeting numerous conservative pundits who claimed the meeting was a "nothing burger."

Obviously, much more will be revealed about both the emails and what they mean for the greater investigations into Trump and Russia.

But as the influential legal blog Lawfare made clear before the Trump Jr. emails became public, the revelation is "the most significant detail to emerge yet from the story" and is the first conclusive evidence that "the Trump campaign or someone purporting to act on its behalf knowingly sought to engage Russian representatives in order to garner damaging information on Hillary Clinton."