Donald Trump Jr.: I met with the Russians to learn about Clinton's 'fitness' for office

President Donald Trump's son told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that he agreed to meet with Russians who had promised his father's campaign damaging information on Hillary Clinton because he wanted to assess Clinton's "fitness" and "qualifications" for office.

“To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out,” Donald Trump Jr. said in a statement provided to the committee — and obtained by the New York Times — before his closed-doors interview.

“Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration.”

RELATED: Trump Jr. with his father through the years

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Donald Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr. through the years
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Donald Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr. through the years
FILE PHOTO: Donald Trump Jr. (L) gives a thumbs up beside his father Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (R) after Trump's debate against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S. September 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
Donald Trump, flanked by his son Donald Jr. (R), addresses the media in Chicago May 10, 2006. Trump was in Chicago to speak about his Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago that is being built on the old site of the Chicago Sun-Times building on the north side of the Chicago River. Trump also stated in the news conference that he has given the project oversight to the children.
FILE PHOTO: Donald Trump Jr. (C) hugs his father, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, as Donald Jr's wife Vanessa (L) walks past after Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File photo
Donald Trump Jr. and Donald Trump during 1988 U.S. Open - September 3, 1988 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Donald Trump Jr. (L) walks off stage with his father Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump after Trump's debate against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S. September 26, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. during 'Veranda: New York's Best at Trump Park Avenue, The Ultimate Showcase Penthouse' Opening Night Reception at The Trump Park Avenue in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by Robin Platzer/FilmMagic)
Donald Trump (C), entrepreneur and host of the television reality series "The Apprentice" poses with his wife and children (L-R) Donald Trump, Jr., Tiffany, Donald Trump, wife Melania, and daughter Ivanka at the party following the live telecast of the finale of season five in Los Angeles June 5, 2006. REUTERS/Fred Prouser
Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 12: Donald Trump (C) and his sons Eric F. Trump (L) and Donald Trump Jr. (R) attend the 'Celebrity Apprentice All Stars' Season 13 Press Conference at Jack Studios on October 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
Donald Trump (2nd L), entrepreneur and host of the television reality series 'The Apprentice', poses with his children, (L-R) son Donald Trump, Jr., and daughters Tiffany and Ivanka at the party following the live telecast of the finale of season five in Los Angeles June 5, 2006.
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (C) speaks with Donald Trump Jr. (L) and Ivanka Trump (R) during the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Donald Trump (R) waves to a fan as his son Donald Jr. looks on after Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles January 16, 2007. REUTERS/Chris Pizzello (UNITED STATES)
(L-R) Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump attend the ground breaking of the Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office Building in Washington July 23, 2014. The $200 million transformation of the Old Post Office Building into a Trump hotel is scheduled for completion in 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS REAL ESTATE)
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump kisses his son Donald, Jr. at a campaign event at Regents University in Virginia Beach, Virginia February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
UNITED STATES - APRIL 14: Donald Trump is joined by his son, Donald Jr., at a Park Ave. luncheon hosted by The Donald. (Photo by Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 27: Donald Trump, Visionary Business Leader award honoree, poses with his children Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka at Fashion Group International's 22nd Annual 'Night Of Stars' at Cipriani's 42nd Street October 27, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 19: Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump at the Trump Soho Launch on September 19, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/WireImage)
COO Trump International Hotels, Jim Petrus, Ivanka Trump Donald Trump Jr. and Donald Trump at Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Jr.and Eric Trump Launch the N on October 10, 2007 at Jean Georges, Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City. (Photo by Shawn Ehlers/WireImage)
DATELINE NBC -- Pictured: (l-r) Donald Trump, Natalie Morales, Donald Trump Jr. -- (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 27: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) introduces his son Donald Trump Jr. (R) as he addressing the crowd during a campaign rally at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on April 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Trump is preparing for the Indiana Primary on May 3rd. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 09: Donald Trump, Jr. (R) greets his father Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri. This is the second of three presidential debates scheduled prior to the November 8th election. (Photo by Rick Wilking-Pool/Getty Images)
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Trump Jr. said in his initial statement after the New York Times broke the news of the meeting that he and a Russian lawyer primarily "discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children."

He did not mention in that statement, which was reportedly dictated by his father, that he had been offered compromising information about Clinton in exchange for taking the meeting or that the lawyer had been accompanied by Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin.

Upon learning earlier this summer that the Times was going to publish the full email chain leading up to the meeting, Trump released it himself on Twitter. The emails showed that agreed to meet with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, at Trump Tower to discuss compromising information she said she had on Hillary Clinton.

SEE ALSO: Manafort is reportedly blocking the FBI from reviewing his interview with Congress about the Trump Tower meeting

"If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer," Trump Jr. told music publicist Rob Goldstone, who pitched him on the meeting on behalf of his client Emin Agalarov. 

Emin is the son of Aras Agalarov, a wealthy Russian-Azerbaijani developer who brought Trump's Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013.

“As much as some have made of my using the phrase ‘I love it,’ it was simply a colloquial way of saying that I appreciated Rob’s gesture,” Trump Jr. said in his prepared statement for the committee on Thursday.

SEE ALSO: Trump's decision to pardon Joe Arpaio could be a crucial piece of evidence in the Russia investigation

Goldstone told Trump Jr. in the emails last year that "the crown prosecutor of Russia" had "some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia." 

Trump Jr. said he "did not quite know what to make of his email," and had "no way to gauge the reliability, credibility or accuracy of any of the things he was saying."

“As it later turned out, my skepticism was justified. The meeting provided no meaningful information and turned out not to be about what had been represented.” 

More from Business Insider: 
June 2-13, 2016: Donald Jr.'s controversial meeting came at a pivotal point for the Trump campaign
The White House and its supporters are turning to a frequent boogeyman to defend Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting
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