Donald Trump Jr. on Thursday told Senate investigators he always planned to talk to his counsel about whether to use dirt on Hillary Clinton offered by a Russian lawyer last year, The New York Times reported, citing a statement it obtained.
He told Senate Judiciary Committee investigators he wanted to at least hear the compromising information floated by Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to find out more about then-candidate Clinton's "fitness" for office.
"To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out," he said in the opening statement, according to the Times. "Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration."
Trump Jr.'s statement that he planned to seek help from his lawyers "suggests that he knew, or at least suspected, that accepting potentially damaging information about a rival campaign from a foreign country raised thorny legal issues," the Times wrote.
The younger Trump again denied any collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.
The meeting last June has put Trump Jr. in the thick of investigations into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign and the Kremlin coordinated. Emails released by the younger Trump show a family acquaintance set up the meeting and offered the information as part of "Russia and its government's support" for the Trump campaign.
Trump Jr. has said he did not find the information as useful as he would have hoped.