Donald Trump’s eldest son was offered a meeting with a Russian lawyer to get damaging information on Hillary Clinton as part of a Kremlin-sponsored effort to boost Mr Trump’s presidential campaign, according to documents released today.
Donald Trump Junior published what he said were the full transcripts of his emails with a businessman who offered to set up the meeting in the run-up to the 2016 elections which took his father to victory.
It comes as he faces growing scrutiny over what appears to be strongest evidence yet of direct Russian links to the Trump presidential campaign at the highest levels.
The transcripts show Mr Trump junior, who was deeply involved in his father’s presidential campaign, was told he was being passed the contact as “part of Russia and it’s Government’s support for Mr Trump”.
He replied: “If it’s what you say I love it”.
The transcripts indicate that Mr Trump junior was contacted in early June 2016 by music publicist Rob Goldstone, whom he had met at a 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Russia.
It offered to put him in contact with a Russian lawyer who he said had information that would “incriminate” rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“This is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but it is part of Russia and it’s Government’s support for Mr Trump,” the message said.
It added the information “would be very useful to your father”.
“If it’s what you say I love it, especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. replied to Goldstone in the exchanges which he posted to Twitter.
The emails say the alleged leak came via the “Crown Prosecutor of Russia”. That is a position that does not exist, though Russia does have a Prosecutor General.
Mr Trump Junior has acknowledged that a meeting with the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, did subsequently take place at Trump Tower.
He insisted that in fact no information on Clinton was given to him, and the supposed leak was “the most inane nonsense I ever heard”.
The growing concern over the contact comes after allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to benefit Mr Trump.
Those claims are currently the subject of an ongoing politically-charged investigation in the US.
Mr Trump has firmly denied that there was any contact between his campaign and the Russian government.