Donald Trump Jr 'knew of Russian plot to help father win election'

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Donald Trump’s son was allegedly told more than a year ago that the Russian government was plotting to help his father win the presidential election, according to a new report.

The New York Times claimed that Donald Trump Jr found out from an email arranging his meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer, who had allegedly offered him information about his father’s rival Hillary Clinton.

The email was sent by British publicist Rob Goldstone who helped broker the meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 — two weeks before Mr Trump won the Republican nomination.

Quoting three sources, the report says the message “indicates that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information” about Mrs Clinton.

The New York Times said there was no evidence linking the allegation with suggestions that Moscow hacked Democratic Party emails in a bid to influence the outcome of last year’s White House race.

In a statement released on Sunday, Mr Trump Jr admitted he was interested in receiving information about Mrs Clinton but offered no indication he was aware the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, might have been linked to the Russian government.

Mr Trump Jr’s lawyer Alan Futerfas today told the newspaper its allegations were “much ado about nothing”.

The latest twist came after the White House denied the president’s son was involved in any way with Russian attempts to sway the US election.

“The president’s campaign did not collude in any way,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “I would certainly say Don Jr did not collude with anybody to influence the election.”

The US Justice Department and US Congress are both running investigations to determine whether anyone in the Trump campaign worked with the Russians to disrupt the election. 

Last night, the Senate Intelligence Committee was reportedly interested in speaking to Mr Trump Jr about the affair. Republican member Senator Susan Collins said that “our intelligence committee needs to interview him and others who attended the meeting”.

Also allegedly at the meeting with Ms Veselnitskaya was Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and the then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Both declined to comment.

The New York Times quoted Mr Goldstone as denying any knowledge of Russian government involvement. He said he was told the Russian lawyer had information about alleged “illegal campaign contributions” made to the Democratic National Committee.

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