Email threads which were released by Donald Trump Jr. himself have revealed Russia's efforts in trying to sway the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the elder Trump has defended his son on social media.
The New York Times was able to get hold of an email thread from June 2016 involving Trump Jr. and Rob Goldstone — who had business with the Trump Organization in Russia — setting up a meeting to discuss information that would incriminate then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The thread was initiated by Goldstone in behalf of Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star and son of Aras Agalarov, the equivalent of Trump in the real estate industry in Russia. Goldstone offered Trump Jr. information that "would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful" to the now U.S. president.
Agalarov is said to have close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who awarded him with the Order of Honor of the Russian Federation. CNN posted an image detailing how the people concerned in the email thread are related to each other.
After four days of exchanging emails, Goldstone proposed to have a meeting in New York with a "Russian government attorney," revealed to be Natalia Veselnitskaya. Although Veselnitskaya denied being a government employee, Trump Jr. met with her with the assumption that she had connections from the inside.
Trump Jr. brought campaign boss Paul Manafort and his brother-in-law — now a White House adviser — Jared Kushner to the meeting, which occurred on June 9 last year.
American intelligence agencies believe that the Russian government disrupted last year's presidential election in favor of Trump. However, the Justice Department and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are still investigating if the president's associates conspired with the Russian government.
The meeting took place just days before the hacking of the Russian government and release of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails occurred. However, there is no confirmation that the two incidents are related.
When Trump Jr. was informed that the email thread would be published, the first son posted photos of the thread on Twitter, along with a statement claiming to be completely transparent and saying that the said meeting was invaluable.
Trump followed his son's release by defending him, saying, "My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!"