Donald Trump Jr. at 11 a.m. Tuesday posted a chain of emails to Twitter, along with a statement providing his take on events leading up to a June 9, 2016, meeting with “Kremlin-connected” Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. That very meeting had been the subject of three consecutive New York Times articles addressing the logistics of the meeting, its purpose and its place in the context of investigations into possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
According to Adam Goldman, a New York Times reporter who has worked on the series, the Times on Tuesday at 10 a.m. informed “them” that they were preparing an article based on the email chain setting up this meeting. “They said they were working on a statement,” said Goldman, who gave a lawyer for the other side until 11 a.m. to get something ready. “The next thing we know, Donald [Trump Jr.] started dumping the emails on Twitter.”
Along with an interesting little foreword, we must point out: “To everyone, in order to be totally transparent, I am releasing the entire email chain of my emails with Rob Goldstone about the meeting on June 9, 2016.” Goldstone is an “entertainment publicist,” in the words of the New York Times, with contacts in the Trump Organization; he worked with Trump Jr. to set up the meeting.
What about that transparency claim? “Nonsense,” Goldman tells the Erik Wemple Blog. “Everybody knows why these emails are public. If we hadn’t pursued this story … then they wouldn’t have released these emails.”
And having the actual emails advances the story quite a bit. In a Monday article with four bylines, the New York Times was able to cite a key piece of information in the email chain:
Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.
Now that we have the actual email, we know how Trump Jr. responded to this prospect: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”