Donald Trump Jr, the eldest son of US President Donald Trump, has acknowledged that he “probably would have done things a little differently” when he met with a Russian attorney during his father’s presidential campaign in June 2016.
This is the first public statement made by Mr Trump Jr since he posted what he called “the entire email chain” of his meetings with a Russian source.
In an email to 39-year-old Mr Trump Jr, who is in the middle of a political storm, said the source had told him that the information “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father”, Fox News reported.
Mr Trump Jr’s music publicist Rob Goldstone acted as an intermediary to set up the meeting with the Russian source. In another email, Mr Goldstone wrote that the information can be shared with then Republican presidential candidate Mr Trump through one of his longtime aide Rhona Graff.
Mr Trump Jr. son described the meeting as “a nothing”, adding, “I wouldn’t have even remembered it until you started scouring through this stuff. It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame”.
“I think in the grand scheme of the hysteria that’s been talked about over the last eight, nine, 10 months with Russia, things are probably different than they were 13 months ago,” Mr Trump Jr concluded. “In retrospect, I know more now, but hindsights always 20-20”.
He also told the news channel that he is ready to testify under oath regarding his meeting with the Russian lawyer ahead of the 2016 election. “I can’t vouch for the information. Someone sent me an email. I can’t help what someone sends me,” he said. “This was pre-Russia fever. This was pre-Russia mania.”
“I don’t think my sirens went off or my antenna went up at this time because it wasn’t the issue that it’s been made out to be,” he added.
Meanwhile, his father lauded his son’s “transparency”. “My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency,” Mr Trump said in a statement which was read out by the White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during her daily news conference.
“My son Donald did a good job last night,” he also tweeted. “He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!”