Washington: Donald Trump Jr was grilled behind closed doors in Congress on Thursday about his contacts with Russia as pressure builds on his father over alleged collusion with Moscow in last year’s election.
His June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at the height of the presidential campaign has made him a key figure in investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to the Kremlin.
A separate 2016 meeting with Alexander Torshin, a senior Russian politician and central banker close to President Vladimir Putin, has added to the scrutiny of President Trump’s eldest son.
He entered and exited the House Intelligence Committee hearing from a back door, avoiding the media, and nothing was immediately released about the discussions.
But according to CNN, the Veselnitskaya meeting, and how the White House tried to explain it away as a discussion about US adoption of Russian orphans, was one focus of the questioning.
NBC News reported on Tuesday that, in recent written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Veselnitskaya said Trump Jr had asked her in the June 2016 meeting for evidence of illegal donations to the foundation of former president Bill Clinton, the husband of Mr Trump’s Democratic election rival Hillary Clinton.
But Veselnitskaya said she hadn’t offered anything like that and had only met to discuss the US Magnitsky Act used to place sanctions on high-level Russians.
“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,” she wrote of the meeting, according to NBC.
She also said that when he found that she did not have any dirt on the Clintons, Trump Jr appeared to lose interest.