Washington: 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 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 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.
Trump Jr's music publicist Rob Goldstone acted as an intermediary to set up the meeting with the Russian source. In another email, Goldstone wrote that the information can be shared with then Republican presidential candidate Trump through one of his longtime aide Rhona Graff.
In a statement, Trump Jr said he had the meeting with Goldstone on 9 June, 2016. The first email came on 3 June, 2016. However, the president's eldest son also 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, ten months with Russia, things are probably different than they were 13 months ago," Trump Jr concluded. "In retrospect, I know more now, but hindsight’s 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 didn’t know if there was any credibility, I didn’t know if there was anything behind it, I can't vouch for the information. Someone sent me an email. I can't help what someone sends me. I read it, I responded accordingly," Trump Jr said.
"This [was] pre-Russia fever. This [was] pre-Russia mania," he said.
"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 over the last nine months, ten months," he added.
Trump Jr said he had been reading about scandals that people were probably underreporting for a long time. Trump Jr said for him this was opposition research. "They had something, you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I would been hearing about … so I think I wanted to hear it out. But really it went nowhere and it was apparent that wasn’t what the meeting was about," he said.
Updated Date: Jul 12, 2017 13:54 PM