Trump Jr. Gives Congress New Reason for Russia Meeting

He says he wanted to determine Clinton's 'fitness' for office
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2017 1:27 PM CDT
Trump Jr. Gives Congress New Reason for Russia Meeting
Donald Trump Jr.'s visit to Capitol Hill on Thursday marked a new phase in the Senate investigation of Moscow's meddling in the 2016 election and a meeting that the president's eldest son had with Russians during the campaign.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Donald Trump Jr. now says he took last June's meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton because he felt it was important he determine Clinton's "fitness" for office. The New York Times received a copy of a statement Trump gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal confirmed its authenticity to CBS News. "To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character, or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out," Trump said in the statement. Trump maintained he didn't collude with the Russian government ahead of the election and painted a picture of a campaign too inexperienced and overwhelmed to do so.

But Trump did say he planned to talk to his lawyers before using any information given to him by lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, indicating he at least suspected that accepting damaging information on the Clinton campaign from a foreign power could be legally problematic. The AP reports the statement is Trump's most detailed account of the meeting yet. In the past he's given conflicting statements on it—he never met with Russians on behalf of the campaign, the meeting was about Russian adoptions—before finally admitting he took it because he was told he might get damaging information on Clinton. In his Thursday statement, Trump said the meeting ultimately "provided no meaningful information." (Read more Donald Trump Jr. stories.)

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