In this fact-checking video, CNN’s Jake Tapper and FactCheck.org examine Donald Trump Jr.’s shifting statements about his June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.
In a July 8 statement, President Donald Trump’s eldest son originally said that his encounter with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was a “short introductory meeting” where “we primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government.” But that glossed over the reason for the meeting, which, the New York Times reported the following day, was because Trump Jr. had been “promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton.”
In a statement on July 9, Trump Jr. acknowledged that in the meeting, Veselnitskaya did say she had “information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton.” However, he said she provided no “supporting information” and that “her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense.”
In addition, the Times reported that in a previous interview in March, Trump Jr. told the paper that he had never “set up” any meetings with Russians and “certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.” But emails later released by Trump Jr. show that he and music publicist Rob Goldstone arranged the meeting so that Trump Jr. could talk with a “Russian government attorney” about “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia” as “part of Russia and its government’s support” for his father’s presidential campaign.
The CNN video is based on our July 13 article “Donald Trump Jr.’s Evolving Statements.” All of our previous collaborations with “State of the Union” are available on our website.