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Trump defends eldest son
July 13, 2017
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Washington: Donald Trump defended his eldest son on Wednesday over emails showing his embrace of Russian efforts to support the billionaire’s presidential campaign in a shock disclosure set to fuel speculation over Moscow’s suspected role in the vote.

 The revelation puts the president’s son at the center of a burgeoning scandal involving multiple US investigations into whether Trump associates colluded with Moscow in its efforts to tilt the 2016 election in the Republican’s favor.

 In a string of emails released on Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr was told he could get “very high level and sensitive information” that was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

 In response, the 39-year-old -- who runs the family real estate business -- wrote back saying: “if it’s what you say I love it”. He then held a meeting with a woman described in the emails as a “Russian government attorney.”

 Speaking to Fox News, Trump Jr said he went along to see what it was about.

 “For me this was opposition research, they had something, you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I’d been hearing about,” he said.

 But he said he didn’t mention the meeting to his father after it failed to yield any compromising information, describing it as “such a nothing. There was nothing to tell.”

 The president’s lawyer Jay Sekulow also said Trump had not been aware of his son’s meeting with the Russian lawyer until “very recently” and did not know about the emails.

 “The president, by the way, never saw an email -- did not see the email -- until it was seen today,” Sekulow said. “I want to be clear on that.”

US intelligence agencies concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a mass effort to tilt the election in Trump’s favor, including hacking and leaking embarrassing emails from Democrats.

 The latest disclosure all but ensures the president’s son will come under scrutiny by investigators in Congress and at the FBI who are probing whether Trump’s team was in the know.

 In a statement accompanying the emails, Trump Jr said the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya “was not a government official” insisting that he and those with him “didn’t know who she was before the meeting.”

 Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, two of Trump’s most trusted campaign officials, also attended the meeting.

 In a statement, Trump leapt to his son’s defense, saying: “My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency.”

 And in a tweet early on Wednesday, he praised him for doing “a good job” in the Fox interview.

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

 In the emails released Tuesday, Rob Goldstone -- a publicist close to the Trumps -- tells Donald Jr about an offer allegedly made by Russia’s general prosecutor to provide the Trump campaign with dirt on Clinton during talks with real estate mogul Aras Agalarov.

 He said he was tipped off about the information by Agalarov’s son, Emin, a pop singer.

 In a June 3 email, Goldstone said the Russian prosecutor “met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting 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.”

 “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump - helped along by Aras and Emin,” he wrote.

Agence France-Presse

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