Trump Jr. says 'in retrospect,' he would have handled Russia meeting 'a little differently'

Donald Trump Jr.
(Image credit: Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

Donald Trump Jr. went on Hannity Tuesday night to discuss the meeting he had in June 2016 with a Russian attorney who promised compromising information on Hillary Clinton, announcing that with his release of emails regarding the incident, "this is all of it."

Trump Jr. said when he received an email from publicist Rob Goldstone saying the Russian government wanted to help Trump and had damaging information on Clinton, sirens didn't go off. "Honestly, I don't know, this was just basic information that was going to be possibly there," he said, adding, "I wanted to hear him out and play it out and see what happens. But people are trying to reach out to you all the time with this." Trump Jr. said he had been hearing "underreported" scandals about Clinton, and when it came to the information he was going to receive, "I didn't know if there was any credibility, anything behind it. I can't vouch for the information. Someone sent me an email. I can't help what someone sends me."

Trump Jr. said he entered the room not knowing who was going to be at the meeting, and after some small talk with the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, the discussion turned to Russian adoptions, and he was only "listening as a courtesy to my acquaintance who set up the meeting. He apologized to me for wasting my time." Trump Jr., who said he did not tell his father about the meeting because "there was nothing to tell," believes Goldstone "goosed up ... there was some puffery to the email, perhaps to get the meeting, to make it happen. In the end there was probably some bait and switch to what it was supposed to be about." Looking back, "I probably would have done things a little differently," he concluded. "This was before the Russia mania, before they were building this up in the press. For me, this was opposition research, they had something, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I'd heard about … it went nowhere."

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Sean Hannity, a vocal champion of President Trump, thanked Trump Jr. for answering "every question I could think of." A few questions Hannity wasn't able to come up with include why Trump Jr. didn't tell The New York Times on Saturday that the whole reason why he agreed to meet with Veselnitskaya was because he was promised information on Clinton (he admitted this on Sunday, when the Times broke the news), or if he had any insight into why just hours after he confirmed the meeting on June 7, 2016, his father said he'd hold a press conference in the next week to discuss "all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.