Washington: Donald Trump’s son was told prior to meeting a Russian lawyer whom he believed had information damaging to Hillary Clinton that the material was part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s presidential campaign, the New York Times has reported, citing three people with knowledge of the email.
Publicist Rob Goldstone, who helped broker the June 2016 meeting, sent the email to Donald Trump jnr, the Times said. Goldstone’s message indicates that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information, according to the Times.
Earlier on Monday, the US President’s eldest son offered to talk to the Senate committee investigating alleged Russian interference in the presidential election, after he acknowledged meeting the Russian lawyer during the campaign.
“Happy to work with the committee to pass on what I know,” Donald Trump jnr wrote on Twitter.
Shortly after, it was revealed the younger Trump has appointed top white collar crime lawyer Alan Futerfas to represent him.
Futerfas’ company website describes him as having “twenty-five years of litigation experience representing individuals and companies in traditional and white collar cases, trials and appeals” and the firm as having earned “a reputation for outstanding results”.
The appointment comes as a source told NBC News the Senate committee wants to speak with Trump jnr.
Trump jnr, as well as two other close associates of Trump, met with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, in June 2016 at Trump Tower in New York.
Trump jnr has said he agreed to meet the lawyer, who the New York Times described as having links to the Kremlin, after being promised damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, also attended the meeting, the Times said. It described the encounter as the first confirmed private meeting between members of Donald Trump’s inner circle and a Russian national.
Congressional committees and a special counsel, Robert Mueller, are investigating whether Russia interfered in the election and colluded with the Trump campaign. Moscow denies the allegations, and Trump says there was no collusion.
Earlier on Monday, a Republican member of the US Senate Intelligence Committee called on Donald Trump jnr to testify to the panel.
“Our intelligence committee needs to interview him and others who attended the meeting,” Senator Susan Collins told reporters at the US Capitol.
Aides to leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees declined to comment about whether Donald Trump jnr would be called to testify.
Allegations of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia have cast a shadow over the Republican President’s first months in office.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Monday there was nothing inappropriate about the meeting with Veselnitskaya.
In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday the Kremlin did not know the identity of the Russian lawyer.
“No, we don’t know who it is and, certainly, we cannot track down all movements of all Russian lawyers both within Russia and abroad,” Peskov said.
A publicist who arranged the meeting with the lawyer last year said he did so at the request of singer and businessman Emin Agalarov, a Moscow-based client of his.