Trump Jr. met with someone he was told was a "Russian government attorney"
The Trump campaign offered blanket denials on Russian connections for months
In the months leading up to the election, Donald Trump Jr. met with a woman who he was told was a “Russian government attorney” in hopes of obtaining damaging information on Hillary Clinton, according to an email exchange he released on Twitter Tuesday.
The emails show that President Donald Trump’s eldest son believed he was receiving “high level and sensitive” information that was part of “Russia and its government’s support” for his father. The meeting, which included Trump Jr., then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, took place June 9, 2016.
His admission comes after months of blanket denials from Trump officials about a willingness to collude with Russians during the 2016 campaign.
Here’s a list of some of their past statements:
July 24, 2016
Manafort told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” that there are no ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Stephanopoulos: “Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you or your campaign and Putin and his regime?”
Manafort: “No, there are not. That’s absurd. And, you know, there’s no basis to it.”
July 24, 2016
In an interview with CNN, Trump Jr. told Jake Tapper that the very idea of the Russians helping his dad is “disgusting” and “phony.”
Tapper: “(Robby Mook) seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Your response?”
Trump Jr.: “Well, it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean, they will say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time and time again, lie after lie. You notice he won’t say, ‘Well, I say this.’ We hear ‘experts.’ You know, ‘His house cat at home once said that this is what’s happening with the Russians.’ It’s disgusting. It’s so phony. I watched him bumble through the interview, I was able to hear it on audio a little bit. I mean, I can’t think of bigger lies, but that exactly goes to show you what the DNC and what the Clinton camp will do. They will lie and do anything to win.”
“You hear it with the DNC where they’re leaking emails about Bernie Sanders and his Jewish heritage, to be able to try to destroy him in the South. It’s a rigged system. It’s disgusting and the people who should be fed up because when I heard it I certainly was.”
October 24, 2016
During a campaign rally in Florida, Trump said: “I have nothing to do with Russia, folks. OK? I’ll give you a written statement.”
November 11, 2016
Hope Hicks, then-spokesperson for Trump’s campaign, told The Associated Press there was no contact between the Trump campaign and Russian representatives.
“It never happened,” Hicks told The AP. “There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.”
December 18, 2016
Top aide Kellyanne Conway answered “absolutely not” when asked by CBS’ John Dickerson if there was contact with “Russians trying to meddle with the election.”
“Absolutely not,” Conway said. “And I discussed that with the President-elect just last night. Those conversations never happened. I hear people saying it like it’s a fact on television. That is just not only inaccurate and false, but it’s dangerous and it does undermine our democracy.”
January 15, 2017
Mike Pence issued a blanket denial to Chris Wallace on Fox News.
Wallace: “I’m asking a direct question: Was there any contact in any way between Trump or his associates and the Kremlin or contacts they had?”
Pence: “I joined this campaign in the summer, and I can tell you that all the contact by the Trump campaign and associates was with the American people. We were fully engaged with taking his message to make America great again all across this country. That’s why he won in a landslide election.”
Wallace: “… if there were any contacts, sir, I’m just trying to get an answer.”
Pence: “Yes. I – of course not. Why would there be any contacts between the campaign? Chris, the – this is all a distraction, and it’s all part of a narrative to delegitimize the election and to question the legitimacy of this presidency. The American people see right through it.”
Pence later repeated that “of course” there had not been contact between the Trump campaign and Russia in an interview with CBS’ Dickerson.
February 14, 2017
White House press secretary Sean Spicer is asked during a briefing to say “definitively that nobody on the Trump campaign, not even General (Michael) Flynn, had any contact with the Russians before the election.”
“I don’t have any … there’s nothing that would conclude me … that anything different has changed with respect to that time period,” Spicer said.
February 19, 2017
Chief of staff Reince Priebus issued a blanket denial to Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” when asked if there was “no collusion whatsoever” between “anybody involved with Trump” and “anybody in involved with Russia in the 2016 campaign.”
“No,” Priebus answered.
Trump Jr. told The New York Times that he did not have any meetings with Russians that were “set up.”
“Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did,” Trump Jr. said. “But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.”
May 11, 2017
The President told NBC’s Lester Holt “there is no collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians.”
May 18, 2017
In a White House news conference, Trump said the investigation into Russian meddling in the election, and whether there was any collusion between his campaign and the Russians, “has been a witch hunt.”
“And there is no collusion between, certainly, myself and my campaign – but I can always speak for myself – and the Russians,” Trump said. “Zero.”
June 16, 2017
Trump tweeted that no one has found any proof of his “collusion with the Russians.”
July 10, 2017
White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at an off-camera briefing with reporters the day before Trump Jr.’s emails were published: “I would certainly say Don Jr. did not collude with anybody to influence the election.”