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Donald Trump Jr replied to email offering 'incriminating' information on Hillary Clinton from Russia with 'I love it'

Many Trump critics believe this may be the smoking gun they have been seeking

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Tuesday 11 July 2017 16:11 BST
Mr Trump Jr has offered to cooperate with Senate investigators
Mr Trump Jr has offered to cooperate with Senate investigators (Getty)

Donald Trump Jr has revealed that he replied to an offer of incriminating material from Russia about Hillary Clinton by saying: “I love it”.

Amid mounting controversy about his previously undisclosed meeting last summer with a lawyer with links to the Kremlin, the President’s eldest son has released what he said was the full exchange leading up to his meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya. He had been told by a friend that the information Ms Veselnitskaya had to offer would “incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father”.

It added: “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump.”

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

The offer of information in an email dated 3 June 2016, came as Donald Trump had beaten off all of his Republican rivals for the presidential candidacy but before the July convention in Cleveland that would see him formally nominated. The email was sent by Rob Goldstone, a former British tabloid journalist who works as in New York as a music publicist and is a friend of Mr Trump Jr.

“The Crown prosecutor of Russia ... offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” Mr Goldstone wrote, possibly referring to the country’s most senior prosecutor.

Russian lawyer says Trump Jr 'badly' wanted dirt on Clintons

In the email, Mr Goldstone, who heads the publicity firm Oui 2 Entertainment, said he was writing on behalf of a mutual friend, one of Russia’s biggest music stars, Emin Agalarov. The singer, who uses only his first name, is the son of billionaire businessman Aras Agalarov, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr Goldstone said he could also "also send this info to your father via Rhona" – an apparent reference to Donald Trump's longtime assistant Rhona Graff. The White House has said Mr Trump was not aware of the meeting.

The New York Times, which first revealed the meeting last summer and the details of the emails, said Mr Agalarov Snr was sometimes called the “Donald Trump of Russia”.

It said Mr Agalarov has close ties to Mr Putin and that his company has won several large state building contracts in Russia. Mr Aras was Mr Trump's business partner in taking the Miss Universe competition to Moscow in 2013.

Ms Veselnitskaya has denied that she was working on behalf of the Russian government and has also denied that she offered information about Ms Clinton or her campaign. “I never had any damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton. It was never my intention to have that,” she told NBC.

Ms Veselnitskaya, who was once married to a deputy transportation minister of the Moscow region, was a largely unknown figure until she began to represent the son of a Russian official in a major money-laundering trial.

It said her company, Kamerton Consulting, defended Denis Katsyv, the son of a vice-president of state-owned Russian Railways who was charged with money-laundering in the United States over a case tied to a massive Russian tax-fraud scheme.

The case against Mr Katsyv’s company, Prevezon, was settled in New York in May for some $6m, three days before it was to go to trial.

Ms Veselnitskaya has also been involved in efforts to overturn the Magnitsky Act, a US law that blacklists several Russians linked to the 2009 murder of another Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky.

During 2015 and 2016, the US law firm BakerHostetler hired Fusion GPS, a Washington-based consulting firm to help in its work on behalf of Prevezon.

GPS Fusion would later be hired by opponents of Donald Trump and helped produce the dossier of unverified claims about him that was ultimately published by BuzzFeed. As part of their work, they retained former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele.

Fusion GPS has denied being connected to Ms Veselnitskaya and said it did not help facilitate the meeting with Mr Trump Jr. “Fusion GPS learned about this meeting from news reports and had no prior knowledge of it,” it said in a statement sent to The Independent.

“Any claim that Fusion GPS arranged or facilitated this meeting in any way is false. Fusion was retained by the US law firm BakerHostetler LLP in support of a court case that began in 2013. That case, and Fusion’s work for Baker, had nothing to do with the 2016 presidential election.”

Mr Trump Jr has denied that he did anything wrong. "The information they suggested they had about Hillary Clinton I thought was Political Opposition Research," he said in a statement explaining his decision to release the email chain. "The woman, as we have said, was not a government official. And, as we have said, she had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act."

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