Donald Trump Jr confirms meeting Russian lawyer

US President's son hoped to find out damaging information on Hillary Clinton during campaign

Donald Trump Jr
(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Donald Trump Jr has confirmed he met a lawyer with links to the Kremlin who was promising information that could damage Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

The US President's son said he met Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in New York on 9 June 2016, two weeks after his father clinched the Republican nomination, the New York Times reports. Paul Manafort, Trump campaign chairman at the time, was also said to be present, along with Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Veselnitskaya has carried out work for several senior Russian government officials.

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"The meeting… points to the central question in federal investigations of the Kremlin's meddling in the presidential election: whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians," the NYT says. Accounts of the meeting "represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help".

Trump Jr added the lawyer had "no meaningful information" and that her "claims of potentially helpful information" had been a pretext.

The Washington Post calls it "a breathtaking admission".

Trump Jr "has denied that anything relevant came out of the meeting, but that could be beside the point", says BBC North America reporter Anthony Zurcher. "Intent is key."

Veselnitskaya also acknowledged the meeting, but said: "Nothing at all was discussed about the presidential campaign."

She added: "I have never acted on behalf of the Russian government and have never discussed any of these matters with any representative of the Russian government."

The US President faces several investigations into whether his campaign colluded with Moscow during last year's presidential election.

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