In Donald Trump Jr.’s first public interview since the New York Times published a bombshell report that he met with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign to discuss damaging information about Hillary Clinton, the president’s son acknowledged he would have handled the situation differently in hindsight but also described the meeting as “a nothing.”
“In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently,” Trump Jr. said Tuesday on Fox News’ Hannity. But he was quick to frame the meeting as run-of-the-mill gathering of “opposition research.”
“They had something, you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I’d been hearing about,” he told host Sean Hannity, who is a fervent supporter of President Trump. “So I think I wanted to hear it out. But really it went nowhere, and it was apparent that that wasn’t what the meeting was actually about.”
The Times broke the news over the past several days that Trump Jr. was promised compromising information about his father’s Democratic presidential opponent by Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, through a trusted intermediary, Rob Goldstone. The Times‘ reporting prompted Trump Jr. to tweet copies of his emails with Goldstone on Tuesday. In one message, Goldstone said Russian officials were offering “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” as part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. replied. Days later, he met with Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower, accompanied by campaign chairman Paul Manafort and brother-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump Jr. has since said the meeting produced “no meaningful information.”
Regarding his response to Goldstone’s email, Trump Jr. told Hannity, “I didn’t know if there was any credibility, I didn’t know if there was anything behind it, I can’t vouch for the information someone sent me an email. I can’t help what someone sends me. I read it, I responded accordingly.”
News of the email exchange and meeting came against the backdrop of the Justice Department and House and Senate Intelligence Committees investigating whether any of President Trump’s associates colluded with the Russian government to sway last year’s election.
On the issue of transparency, Trump Jr. told Hannity he was “more than happy to cooperate with everyone. I just want the truth to get out there.”
Watch a clip of Trump above. Hannity airs weekdays at 10 p.m. ET on Fox News Channel.