Donald Trump Jr. responds to Senate Judiciary Committee document dump

  • Donald Trump Jr. responded to the Senate Judiciary Committee's release of closed-door interview transcripts related to the June 2016 Trump Tower Meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer.
  • "The public can now see that for over five hours I answered every question asked and was candid and forthright with the committee," Trump Jr. said.
  • The June 2016 meeting was presented as a chance for the lawyer to provide the Trump team with damaging information about Hillary Clinton. 


Donald Trump Jr. on Wednesday responded to the Senate Judiciary Committee's release of closed-door interview transcripts with attendees of a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting that involved him, top Trump campaign officials, and a Kremlin-connected lawyer.

"I appreciate the opportunity to have assisted the Judiciary Committee in its inquiry," Trump Jr. said in a statement provided to Business Insider. "The public can now see that for over five hours I answered every question asked and was candid and forthright with the committee."

The June 2016 meeting, which was attended by Trump Jr., White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, and former campaign manager Paul Manafort, was presented as a chance for Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to provide the Trump team with damaging information about 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. 

Once the meeting became public last year, Trump Jr. initially said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss Russian adoption policy. But the story began to shift in subsequent days. Trump Jr. eventually released emails between him and the music publicist Rob Goldstone, who helped coordinate the meeting with Veselnitskaya.

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Key Trump officials, advisers of note in the Russia probe
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Key Trump officials, advisers of note in the Russia probe

Tom Barrack

The close friend to Donald Trump and CEO of private equity firm Colony Capital recommended that Trump bring in Paul Manafort for his presidential campaign.

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Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has cooperated with Mueller's investigation and worked with Michael Flynn and was present at a meeting where they discussed removing the controversial Turkish Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen from US soil. 

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The former senior Trump campaign official and White House adviser was present and crucial during the firings of Michael Flynn and James Comey.

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Jeff Sessions

Former U.S. senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama joined Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser in February 2016. Sessions was nominated to be U.S. attorney general by President Trump and was then confirmed by the Senate. Reports then emerged that Sessions had spoken twice with Sergey Kislyak while he was senator -- a fact that he left out of his Senate hearing testimony. Instead, he said in writing that he had not communicated with any Russian officials during the campaign season. Sessions defended himself saying he had spoken with Kislyak specifically in a senate capacity.

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort signed on as Donald Trump's campaign manager in March 2016. A longtime Republican strategist and beltway operative, Manafort had previously served as an adviser to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich -- a pro-Russia leader who was violently ousted in 2014. Manafort resigned from his campaign position in August 2016 amid questions over his lobbying history in Ukraine for an administration supportive of Russia. The former campaign manager reportedly remained in Trump's circle during the post-election transition period.

Michael Flynn

Gen. Michael Flynn was named President Trump's national security adviser in November of 2016. Flynn reportedly met and spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, at one point discussing sanctions. Flynn originally told Vice President Pence he did not discuss sanctions -- a point the Department of Justice said made the national security adviser subject to blackmail. Flynn resigned from his position in February.

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2016 election winner Donald Trump is at the center of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russia's handlings.

Sam Clovis

Clovis, a former member of the Trump campaign, arrives on at the U.S. Capitol December 12, 2017 to appear before a closed meeting of the House Intelligence Committee. Clovis worked with George Papadopoulos, a former Donald Trump campaign foreign policy advisor who struck a plea deal on charges of lying to the FBI.

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Roger Stone

Stone is a longtime Republican political consultant who served as a campaign adviser to Trump who continued to talk with the then-GOP candidate after stepping away from his adviser role. Stone claimed last year that he had knowledge of the planned WikiLeaks release of emails pertaining to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Stone recently admitted to speaking via direct message with "Guccifer 2.0" -- an online entity U.S. officials believe is tied to Russia. Stone says the correspondence was “completely innocuous.”

Carter Page

Page worked for Merrill Lynch as an investment banker out of their Moscow office for three years before joining Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser. During his time with Merrill Lynch, Page advised transactions for two major Russian entities. Page has called Washington "hypocritical" for focusing on corruption and democratization in addressing U.S. relations with Russia. While Page is someone Trump camp has seemingly tried to distance itself from, Page recently said he has made frequent visits to Trump Tower.

J.D. Gordon

Before Gordon joined the Trump campaign as a national security adviser in March 2016, he served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005 through 2009. Like others involved in Trump-Russia allegations, Gordon met with ambassador Kislyak in July at the Republican National Convention, but has since denied any wrongdoing in their conversation. He advocated for and worked to revise the RNC language on and position toward Ukraine relations, so it was more friendly toward Russia's dealings in the country.

Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo (L)

Caputo waves goodbye to reporters after he testified before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Caputo resigned from being a Trump campaign communications advisor after appearing to celebrate the firing of former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Denying any contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, Caputo did live in Moscow during the 1990s, served as an adviser to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and did pro-Putin public relations work for the Russian conglomerate Gazprom Media.

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Stephen Miller, White House Senior Advisor for Policy

Jason Miller
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
Eric Trump
Donald Trump Jr.
Ivanka Trump
White House Senior adviser Jared Kushner
Executive assistant to Donald Trump Rhona Graff
White House Communications Director Hope Hicks
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In the email exchange, Veselnitskaya was identified as a "Russian government attorney." Goldstone told Trump she wanted to share some information about Clinton as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

Trump Jr. has said that Veselnitskaya did not ultimately provide damaging information on Clinton. In the months that followed, it was revealed that President Donald Trump was involved with crafting one of Trump Jr.'s responses to the reporting on the meeting.

2,500 pages worth of information on the meeting

The Senate Judiciary Committee transcripts, which contained about 2,000 pages worth of information, showed that Trump Jr.'s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, had started to reach out to participants in the meeting to get their stories straight before the meeting was reported publicly.

Goldstone told the committee that he had warned his client, Russian pop star and developer Emin Agalarov — who had ties to Trump through the Miss Universe pageant — that setting up the Trump Tower meeting was a bad idea, to which Agalarov said "it doesn't matter." Goldstone testified that he, like Trump Jr., attended the meeting expecting Veselnitskaya to provide a "smoking gun" to help the Trump campaign.

Trump Jr. told the committee that he was disappointed with the meeting, which he said shifted into a discussion of the Magnitsky Act. The law imposed sanctions on Russia for human rights abuses, which in turn prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to halt US adoptions of Russian children.

"All else being equal, I wouldn’t have wanted to waste 20 minutes hearing about something that I wasn’t supposed to be meeting about," Trump Jr. told the committee.

Those present in the meeting who were interviewed by the committee included:

  • Trump Jr.
  • Goldstone
  • Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin
  • Translator Anatoli Samochornov
  • The Russia-connected Ike Kavedladze, an Agalarov business partner

Trump Jr. Russia meeting

Skye Gould/Business Insider

Kushner and Manafort declined to be interviewed, while Veselnitskaya provided written answers to the committee.

The panel's Democrats, in a joint response to the release, said that based on the interviews, Trump allies present in the meeting showed signs of dejection that they were unable to obtain negative information on Clinton. Goldstone described Kushner as angered during the meeting.

"Their efforts to conceal the meeting and its true purpose are consistent with a larger pattern of false statements about the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia," the Democrats wrote.

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