In his June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower, Donald Trump Jr. asked the lawyer if she had evidence to show that the Clinton Foundation had received illegal donations, according to written answers the lawyer provided to a series of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer in question, told the panel that she did not have the evidence Trump had requested, according to NBC News. She also added that she believed he "misunderstood the nature of the meeting after receiving emails from a music promoter promising incriminating information on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump's Democratic opponent."
Trump seemed to lose interest once he realized the information he sought was not available, Veselnitskaya said.
The revelations have led to many believing that this is the most obvious example of Russian collusion to date.
"Today, I understand why it took place to begin with and why it ended so quickly with a feeling of mutual disappointment and time wasted," Veselnitskaya wrote in her answers, according to NBC. "The answer lies in the roguish letters of Mr. Goldstone."
Of course, she was referencing emails from the music promoter, Rob Goldstone, who arranged the meeting between the two parties. President Donald Trump's former Campaign Chair Paul Manafort and White House Chief Strategist Jared Kushner also attended.
Goldstone worked for the Agalarov family, who "are Russian oligarchs with Kremlin connections who had business and social ties to the Trump family," according to NBC. He told Trump's oldest son in his emails that the meeting was with a "Russian government lawyer" and that it was party for the country's effort to help elect his father. Goldstone has since said he hyped up his claims.
Veselnitskaya told the Senate panel in her 51-page statement that she did not work for the Russian government nor had she relayed any messages from the Kremlin.
"She said her motive was to get the Trump team to examine what she argues is a fraud that led the U.S. to impose sanctions on Russia known as the Magnitsky Act," NBC reported.
"Now that I know the kind of apocalyptic Hollywood scenario that a private conversation between a lawyer and a businessman can be turned into, I very much regret that the desire to bring the truth to the [Congress] has thrown the U.S. president's family, as well as Mrs. Clinton, into the whirlwind of mutual political accusations and fueled the fire of the morbid, completely groundless hatred for Russia," she wrote.
But the written answers provided by Veselnitskaya show that Trump openly sought to receive information from someone, who at the time, he had been informed was working for the Russian government and could provide it to him. He confirmed he was hoping to receive information on Clinton back in October.
Many have pointed out that the news is the clearest example that Trump's oldest son colluded with the Russians, and he is expected to meet behind closed doors with the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.
Today: Donald Trump Jr. will be testifying behind closed congressional doors. Yesterday: NBC reported Donald Trump Jr. asked Russian lawyer for info on Clinton Foundation — Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) December 6, 2017
BREAKING: Donald Trump Jr. asked Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya for dirt on Clinton Foundation during their June 2016 meeting, according to Veselnitskaya!
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) December 5, 2017
Well this doesn't look so promising. Trump, Trump Jr. and Kushner all in some major hot water!
Veselnitskaya tells the Sen Judiciary Comm Donald Jr. asked at June 9 Tower meeting whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation. https://t.co/N6Y1Y8jF0A
— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) December 5, 2017
Let’s be clear. What is happening right now with Flynn’s guilty plea is that Mueller believes he is offering convincing evidence that implicates Trump, Don Jr and Kushner.
— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) December 1, 2017
This is called soliciting an in-kind campaign donation from a foreign national.
Which is why Don previously claimed he only listened at the meeting and didn't ask for anything.
Because he knew asking would be illegal.
Now we know he asked.https://t.co/ZbUdZ6mkQv
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) December 6, 2017