Trump administration under pressure after Russia emails released

Donald Trump jnr enthusiastically welcomed offer of Russian assistance

The Trump administration was facing increased pressure last night over its links with Russia after emails showed that Donald Trump jnr enthusiastically welcomed an offer of information on Hillary Clinton linked to the Russian government.

Following three days of media reports and counterstatements by Donald Trump jnr, the president's eldest son took the unusual step of publishing a chain of emails that preceded a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on June 9th last year.

The email thread shows that Rob Goldstone, a former British tabloid journalist turned PR executive, emailed Mr Trump jnr ahead of the meeting. He said that the "the crown prosecutor of Russia" had offered to "provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary Clinton and her dealings with Russia". This information was "part of Russia and its government's support" for Trump, he added.

Minutes later Mr Trump jnr replied: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”


The apparent admission by Mr Trump jnr that he was willing to receive information on Mrs Clinton that was “part of Russia and its government’s support” for his father marks a significant escalation in the controversy.

Mueller investigation

Collusion between members of the Trump campaign team and the Kremlin is currently being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller. The White House has repeatedly rejected claims that any links existed, but confirmation by Mr Trump jnr that he was willing to receive information about Mrs Clinton from the Russian government could indicate an intent to collude with a foreign government.

The meeting was also attended by two of the Trump campaign's top officials – campaign manager Paul Manafort and Mr Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is now a senior adviser at the White House. Mr Kushner initially failed to disclose his attendance at the June meeting as part of his White House security clearance background application.

Similarly, earlier this year, Mr Trump jnr said he had never attended a pre-arranged meeting with a Russian individual.

“Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did,” he said in an interview in March. “But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.”

Kremlin lawyer

In a further development, in one email to Mr Trump jnr, Mr Goldstone describes the woman who will attend the meeting as a “Russian government lawyer”.

This appears to contradict claims by Ms Veselnitskaya in an interview with NBC yesterday that she had no connections with the Russian government. The Kremlin also said on Monday that it had no knowledge of the June 9th meeting at Trump Tower between Ms Veselnitskaya and the president’s campaign team.

White House officials repeated yesterday that the president was only informed about the meeting in the past few days.

Mr Trump, who refrained from referencing the controversy on Twitter, issued a statement yesterday: “My son is a high quality person and I applaud his transparency.”

The latest controversy comes less than a week after Mr Trump returned from the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, where he held a much-anticipated meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Ahead of that meeting, Mr Trump appeared to question whether Russia was responsible for interfering in last year’s presidential election, despite the US intelligence services concluding in December that the Kremlin had.

“Nobody really knows for sure,” he said when asked about Russian interference. During his meeting with Mr Putin he proposed co-operating with Moscow to form a cybersecurity unit, a proposal that was ridiculed by Democrats and some Republicans on his return to Washington.

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent