Donald Trump says his son 'did a good job last night' amid mounting pressure over Russian meeting

Donald Trump Jr claims meeting with Russian lawyer was 'just a nothing'

Donald Trump Jr defends meeting with Russian lawyer

Donald Trump has said his son “did a good job last night” as he leapt to his defence amid mounting pressure over a meeting he attended with a Russian lawyer in the belief she would hand over damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

“My son Donald did a good job last night,” the President said, apparently referring to an interview broadcast on Fox News.

“He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!”

Amid global coverage of the growing scandal over a meeting involving the younger Mr Trump, his father's campaign manager Paul Manafort and son-in-law Jared Kushner, the President added: “Remember, when you hear the words “sources say” from the Fake Media, often times those sources are made up and do not exist.”

His early morning tweets followed reports the saga, seeing Mr Trump’s son bypass lawyers to release pages of explosive emails on Twitter, has engulfed the embattled Trump administration in fresh chaos.

The President – who is due to travel to France to mark Bastille Day with Emmanuel Macron later – has not appeared in public since returning from the G20 summit in Germany on Saturday.

Donald Trump Jr is interviewed by host Sean Hannity on his Fox News Channel television programme in New York

In private, he is said to be “raging” against the media rather than his son, according to sources.

A previous statement from Mr Trump read out by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency.”

Emails released by the younger Mr Trump on Tuesday showed him communicating with an associate trying to arrange a meeting with a Russian lawyer claiming to have information that could damage Ms Clinton’s campaign.

The intermediary describes the “high level and sensitive information” as “part of Russia and it’s government’s support for Mr Trump” – following months of denials by the Kremlin and White House over alleged interference in the election.

“I love it,” Mr Trump Jr responded, setting up a meeting that later took place at Trump Tower in New York, on 9 June last year.

He told Fox News’ Sean Hannity he had not told his father about the meeting, adding: “It was just a nothing. There was nothing to tell”.

Mr Trump Jr defended his actions by blaming the decision to take the meeting on the ”million miles per hour“ pace of a presidential campaign and his suspicion that the lawyer might have information about ”under-reported“ scandals involving Ms Clinton.

He claimed the meeting ”really went nowhere“, adding: ”In retrospect I probably would have done things a little differently.”

Mr Trump Jr, who was deeply involved in his father's presidential campaign, portrayed his decision to release the emails as an effort “to be totally transparent” but the New York Times said it had already obtained the communications and had asked him to comment on its impending story.

Political opponents voiced outrage and insisted the messages showed clear collusion, with Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, declaring that “all of the campaign's previous denials obviously now have to be viewed in a different context”.

Yet Republicans did not join in the condemnation and Mr Trump’s supporters have been treating the scandal as another attack on the President by the “fake news media”.

US intelligence agencies have said the Russian government meddled in the presidential election through hacking the Democratic National Campaign emails to aid Mr Trump and investigations are underway.

Mr Trump Jr and his lawyers have denied he did anything wrong (EPA/DAN ANDERSON)

But Mr Trump has dismissed the findings, as has Vladimir Putin and members of the Russian Government.

The Russian lawyer who met his son and aides, Natalia Veselnitskaya, has denied ever working for the Kremlin.

Sergey Lavrov said he “learned with surprise” that she and Mr Trump Jr were being blamed for the meeting.

“Because when any person speaks to a lawyer, what problem or threat could be there?” he added. “I didn't know about this, I learned about it from television.”

A spokesperson for the Kremlin said there was “nothing to investigate” over the meeting, backing up Ms Veselnitskaya’s statement that she had no link with the Russian government.

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