Congressional investigators have discovered that British publicist Rod Goldstone, who set up Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer last year, later sent multiple emails to a Russian who helped arrange the meeting and one of the elder Trump’s top aides, CNN reported Thursday.
The emails cast some doubt on President Donald Trump’s eldest son’s insistence that he’d had no further contact with the Russians after their June 2016 meeting, which The New York Times broke news of this July.
At that time, Trump Jr. described it as a “short introductory meeting” primarily focused on a Russian adoption program. He later acknowledged that he hoped attending the meeting would yield “potentially helpful information” for the Trump campaign about Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
According to multiple sources familiar with the congressional investigation, which is looking into allegations of Russian interference in last year’s U.S. election, Trump Jr. told investigators during a closed-door meeting on Wednesday that he was not aware of the newly disclosed emails Goldstone had sent, CNN reported.
In one email sent shortly after the June 2016 meeting, Goldstone reportedly forwarded a CNN story about Russia hacking Democratic National Committee emails to Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star who helped Goldstone arrange the meeting, and Ike Kaveladze, a Georgian-American business executive.
Kaveladze was at the meeting, reportedly representing Agalarov and his father, along with Trump Jr., Goldstone, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, and two others.
In the email, Goldstone reportedly described the news as ”‘eerily weird’ given what they had discussed at Trump Tower five days earlier,” CNN reported.
In another email, Goldstone encouraged Trump aide Dan Scavino, who now serves as the White House director of social media, to set Trump up with a page on the Russian social networking site VK. He wrote that both Trump Jr. and Manafort supported the idea, according to CNN.
At Wednesday’s panel with the congressional investigators, Trump Jr. reportedly declined to discuss a conversation he had with his father about emails related to the 2016 meeting, and cited attorney-client privilege in his refusal.
In July, just hours after the Times broke news of the June 2016 meeting, Trump Jr. went on Fox News saying he never told his father about the meeting because it was “such a nothing.”
After the news of the meeting emerged, the president defended it as “very standard.”