Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer after she dangled information that could help dad's campaign

Key Points
  • Trump Jr. admits he met with the attorney after being told she had information that might be "helpful to the campaign."
  • Trump's son did not identify the Kremlin-linked lawyer but claimed she turned out to have no useful information.
Here's Donald Trump Jr.'s full statement on his meeting with a Russian lawyer

Donald Trump Jr. agreed in 2016 to meet with a Russian lawyer who was linked to the Kremlin after he was told she "might have information helpful to the campaign," the son of the president acknowledged in a statement Sunday.

He said his father knew nothing of the meeting.

The younger Trump said his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign boss Paul Manafort attended the June 9, 2016, meeting, which took place as the presidential contest was heating up.

The statement is significant because the Trump campaign is facing multiple investigations into whether it colluded with Moscow. The Kremlin last year used various means to try to influence the American election, according to official findings by the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Trump Jr. on Sunday did not identify the Moscow-connected attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, but said he was asked to meet with her by "an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant."

"After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton," Trump Jr. said.

But if he was hoping for something of use, he was disappointed.

"Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information," he said.

"My father knew nothing of the meeting or these events," Trump Jr. said.

More than just 'adoption' talk

The president's son put out the statement after The New York Times reported that Trump Jr. held the meeting after learning the attorney had information potentially damaging to the campaign of Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

After a less-detailed report in Saturday's Times, Trump Jr. initially told the newspaper the meeting involved issues surrounding the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens.

At the height of the campaign, a massive trove of emails from the Democratic National Committee was published on WikiLeaks starting July 22, 2016 — six weeks after the meeting with Veselnitskaya — roiling the Clinton campaign. Russian hackers are widely suspected as having been behind the leak.

Questions about Russia's role in influencing the 2016 election continue to reverberate across Washington and have undermined the White House's credibility.

A representative of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the U.S. election, declined CNBC's request for comment.

President Trump last week had his first face-to-face encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who stands accused of meddling in the 2016 general election. Trump said he "strongly pressed" Putin about Russian meddling.


Putin denied any interference.