01:55 - Source: CNN
Who is Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya?

Story highlights

Trump Jr. said in a statement to CNN that the meeting was set up by an acquaintance he knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant

The Kremlin's spokesman said they didn't know who the Russian lawyer is

Washington CNN —  

The Kremlin said Monday it was not aware of a meeting between President Donald Trump’s eldest son and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya that took place during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Donald Trump Jr. said Sunday he met with an individual he had been told “might have information helpful to the campaign” in June 2016.

His statements come in response to The New York Times’ reporting that he “was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign.” The New York Times attributed their reporting to three unnamed advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting, and two other sources with knowledge of it.

The revelations underscore the fundamental issue for federal investigators as they probe Russia’s interference in last year’s election: Did the Trump campaign collude with Russians in an effort to hurt Clinton and win the White House?

Trump team met with Russian lawyer during campaign

In response to a question from a CNN reporter asking if the Russian lawyer had coordinated her actions with the Kremlin, spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded, “No, we don’t know who that is and obviously we can’t monitor all meetings Russian lawyers hold both in Russia and abroad.”

Trump Jr. said in a statement to CNN that the meeting was set up by an acquaintance he knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, which was held in a suburb of Moscow. His statement said he was not given the person’s name beforehand. CNN has confirmed the Russian lawyer he met with is Veselnitskaya.

Trump Jr. also said he invited Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort to attend the meeting, “but told them nothing of the substance.”

Veselnitskaya is known for founding a group purporting to seek the removal of Moscow’s ban on the adoption of Russian children by US citizens.

Later on Monday, in response to a headline from The Hill on Twitter with reporting that Sen. Susan Collins is calling for the Senate Intelligence Committee to interview Trump Jr. over the meeting, he responded that he would participate.

Trump Jr. tweeted, “Happy to work with the committee to pass on what I know.”

CNN’s Matt Korade and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.