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Trump says eldest son Donald Trump Jr is 'innocent'

Donald Trump (R) stands with his son Donald Trump Jr. after the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on September 26, 2016.
Jewel Samad | AFP | Getty Images
Donald Trump (R) stands with his son Donald Trump Jr. after the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on September 26, 2016.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his eldest son as "innocent" following emails that showed Donald Trump Jr. welcomed Russian help against his father's rival in the 2016 presidential election, deepening the controversy over purported Russian meddling.

Trump Jr. released a series of emails on Tuesday that revealed he had eagerly agreed to meet a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as part of Moscow's official support for his father.

Trump Jr., in a Fox News television interview later Tuesday, said: "In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently."

The president, after initially releasing a statement on Tuesday calling his son "high-quality," on Wednesday praised the TV appearance and repeated his condemnation of investigations and media coverage of the Russia investigations.

"He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!" Trump wrote on Twitter.