Trump Jr.'s past statements on Russia are receiving new attention after he and The New York Times revealed he met with a lawyer he was told in an email was a "Russian government attorney" who had "very high-level and sensitive information" incriminating Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. In emails Trump Jr. made public Tuesday, he was told by a friend, publicist Rob Goldstone, that the information was "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."
Trump Jr. told Fox News that the meeting, which occurred on June 9, 2016, amounted to nothing and that he was just seeking political opposition research about his father's opponent.
After the meeting, Trump Jr. fought back against the notion in radio, TV and campaign appearances that any connection with Russia existed.
Speaking with CNN's Jake Tapper in July, Trump Jr. called claims of Russian meddling "disgusting" when he was asked about comments by Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook that leaked DNC emails were part of a Russian effort to help Trump.
"Well it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean, they will say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time and time again, lie after lie," Trump Jr. said.
He added, "It's disgusting. It's so phony."
In campaign appearances in October and November, Trump Jr. brushed off the idea that his father's campaign had connections to Russia and attacked the Clintons over the sale of a Canadian uranium mining company to Russia's atomic energy agency Rosatom, alleging that the Clintons were engaged in a pay-to-play scheme.
"We've seen corruption at the highest level," Trump Jr. said
on Oct. 17 to supporters in Colorado. "We've seen our country be sold out. We've seen, you know, the second Bill (Clinton) gives a speech in Russia for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Two weeks later, the State Department that's run by Hillary Clinton signs off, giving Russians 20% of our uranium supply. And we're the ones with the Russia connection. I mean, give me a break, folks. But that's what this is about. It's about hypocrisy."
Trump Jr. was referring
to the takeover of a Canadian mining company by Russia state-owned Rosatom. Because the mining company held US uranium assets, the deal required the approval of nine US agency heads, of which then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was only one.
Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon told The New York Times in 2015 that suggesting "the State Department, under then-Secretary Clinton, exerted undue influence in the U.S. government's review of the sale of (Canadian company) Uranium One is utterly baseless."
Trump Jr. made
similar comments in Detroit on November 2.
"She talks about our connections -- supposed connection to Russia -- because we built condominiums, sold a couple apartments to some Russians in New York," Trump Jr. "But she doesn't talk about the fact that Bill Clinton gave a six-figure speech in that part of the world and in that part of the world, and a few weeks later, she and the State Department signed off on selling 20% of US uranium in the ground to the Russians. Uranium! You know, the stuff they use to make atomic weapons. It's that kind of hypocrisy, those kind of lies, and what's worse than that it's happening is that so many people don't care. And so few people in the media will talk about it. And that's the fight we're against."
That same day, Trump Jr. also made a similar argument to radio host Herman Cain.