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Trump lauds his son's 'transparency' on Russia-related emails


President Trump offered praise for his "high quality" son in his first remarks on Donald Trump Jr. in the four days that the younger man has been at the center of a media storm for his meeting with a Russian lawyer.


In saluting his son for transparency, Trump was alluding to Donald Jr.'s release hours earlier of a chain of emails written in the days before his June 9, 2016, meeting with the lawyer — emails that the son disclosed only after he'd learned from the New York Times that it was about to publish them.

The chain of emails began with a message from Rob Goldstone, a music promoter with business dealings in Russia who is a friend of Trump Jr.’s. Goldstone offered to set up a meeting with a Russian government attorney who had “official documents and information" that would “incriminate” Hillary Clinton “and be very useful to your father."

President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and campaign manager Paul Manafort, were also copied on some of the messages, since they were to accompany Trump Jr. to the meeting. The emails show that Trump's three closest advisers understood going into the meeting that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had incriminating information on the Clinton campaign that was part of a broader Russian government effort to help Trump. 

As such, the correspondence suggests the most incriminating evidence to date that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to try and hurt the Clinton campaign, a matter that is now the subject of investigation by a Justice Department special counsel and House and Senate committees. 

Rather than turn to Twitter as he often does, or speak to the news media, the president issued the statement lauding his son through spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She read it at the start of an off-camera briefing for White House reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Sanders said further questions on Russian interference and what Trump knew about Trump Jr.'s contact with a Russian lawyer should be addressed to outside lawyers for the president and his son.

In a briefing on Monday at the White House, Sanders said Trump learned about the June 2016 meeting involving his son, Kushner and Manafort "in the last couple days." When asked Tuesday if she has learned anything in the last 24 hours that would change that answer, she said, "No I haven't" and ended the briefing after just 19 minutes of questions and responses.

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