Donald Trump Jr. spoke Tuesday about his controversial meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya during the 2016 presidential campaign, acknowledging that he would have handled things differently if given the opportunity, and claiming that he had never informed his father of the meeting.
“In retrospect I probably would have done things a little differently,” Trump Jr. told Fox News’ Sean Hannity during his first major televised appearance since the scandal broke. “Again this is before the Russia mania, this is before they were building this up in the press. For me this was opposition research, they had something you know maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I’d been hearing about.”
The New York Times reported July 8 that Trump Jr. had met with Veselnitskaya during the 2016 campaign, but the Russian attorney told the Times the meeting was about adoption policy and nothing related to the campaign was discussed. Trump Jr. initially said he took the meeting to discuss adoption policy.
Subsequent reports from the Times however, revealed that Trump Jr. planned on meeting with Veslnitskaya because he believed she had compromising information about Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday, Trump Jr. released the exchange of emails leading up to the meeting. The emails showed that he was promised “very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
“My take away when all of this was going on, is that someone has information on our opponent,” Trump Jr. told Hannity of his reason for taking the meeting. “You know what it’s like to be on a campaign. We just won Indiana, but we’re talking about a contested convention. Things are going a million miles per hour again and hey, wait a minute, I’ve hear about all these things, but maybe this is something, I should hear him out.”
Trump Jr. insisted, however, he never told his father, then on the cusp of officially becoming the Republican Presidential nominee, of the meeting.
“It was just a nothing. There was nothing to tell,” he told Hannity. “I wouldn’t have even remembered it until you started scouring through this stuff.”