Donald Trump Jr. releases emails arranging meeting with Russian lawyer

Last Updated Jul 11, 2017 3:51 PM EDT

Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter Tuesday released a series of emails confirming he was told the arranging of a meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer was a part of the Russian government's support for his father. 

The eldest Trump son's release confirms not only attempts to set up such a meeting that could reveal damaging information about Hillary Clinton, but also that he was told any such efforts were because of the Russian government's support of Mr. Trump. The New York Times reported Monday night that the man who set up a meeting last year for a Russian lawyer to give the Trump son potentially damaging material about Hillary Clinton indicated to him that the Russian government was the source of the information.  

"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump -- helped along by Aras and Emin," publicist Rob Goldstone wrote on June 3, 2016, at 10:36 a.m. The email continues "I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first."

Shortly after that at 10:53 a.m., the eldest Trump son responded, "Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?" 

The Trump son posted a short explanation for why he would post the emails.

"To everyone, in order to be totally transparent, I am releasing the entire email chain of my emails with Rob Goldstone about the meeting on June 9, 2016. The first email on June 3, 2016, was from Rob, who was relating a request from Emin, a person I knew from the 2013 Ms. Universe Pageant near Moscow."

The release of the email chain shocked Twitter, but New York Times deputy managing editor Clifford Levy said Trump Jr. "posted these emails after being informed that the New York Times was doing a story on them."

The email chain could be key evidence as the House and Senate intelligence committees, along with the FBI and special counselor Robert Mueller, investigate Russian election meddling and any ties to the Trump campaign. 

The Trump son only recently acknowledged he was a part of a June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, reportedly along with Mr. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort. White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday denied that any collusion took place.

"I think the point is that we've tried to make every single time, today and then, and will continue to make in those statements is that there was simply no collusion that they keep trying to create that there was," Sanders said during a White House press briefing. 

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.