It has also been used as the jumping-off point for a number of broader theories of how the Trump campaign might have colluded with the Russian government. For example: Did that meeting precipitate Donald Trump’s tweet about Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails? Well, no, almost certainly not.
Below, a timeline of the events leading up to that meeting and some of the theories that are floating around it.
The Miss Universe pageant, at this point part of the Trump Organization, is held in Moscow. The event’s location was secured thanks to licensing fees of nearly $20 million paid by a Moscow real estate development firm called the Crocus Group.
Its president is a man named Aras Agalarov. Shortly after the pageant, Trump tweets his enthusiasm about working with Agalarov on a real estate development.
Agalarov’s son, Emin, is a vice president of Crocus Group — and a pop singer.
Later that month, a new video is released by Emin Agalarov, starring Donald Trump.
Emin Agalarov’s publicist in the United States is a man named Rob Goldstone.
Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state is made public. Clinton reveals that she turned over work-related emails to the government for the purposes of maintaining records but that personal emails on the server were deleted. Some 31,000 emails fell into that latter category, screened by a team of attorneys.
Hackers believed to be linked to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) gain access to the network of the Democratic National Committee.
John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is emailed a link asking that he change his password. This is believed to be the way that hackers gained access to Podesta’s email account.
Hackers believed to be linked to Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) also gain access to the DNC network.
Trump tweets about Clinton’s deleted emails.
An Associated Press report indicates that Donald Trump has secured enough unpledged Republican delegates to assure that he will be nominated candidate for the presidency.
During a speech in San Jose a few days before the California primary, Trump again refers to the emails deleted from Hillary Clinton’s private server.
“By the way, Hillary Clinton is missing 30,000 emails,” he says. “They’ve been deleted. 30,000. 30,000.”
Trump was discussing a New York Times story about his relationships with women. He noted that one of the women critical of him in that story had previously praised him over email — which he still had in his possession.
Goldstone emails Donald Trump Jr.:
Emin [Agalarov] just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.
The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.
This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and it’s government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.
What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?
I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.
“Rhona” is Rhona Graff, Donald Trump’s assistant.
Trump Jr. replies to Goldstone:
Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?
Let me know when you are free to talk with Emin by phone about this Hillary info – you had mentioned early this week so wanted to try to schedule a time and day Best to you and family
Trump Jr. asks Goldstone over email if he can speak with Agalarov at that moment. In a later email, he asks Goldstone to have Agalarov call his cell phone.
Goldstone emails Trump Jr. to tell him that Agalarov is on-stage at the moment but that he can have him call in 20 minutes.
Trump Jr. thanks Goldstone for his help. It’s not clear from this email if the two spoke.
Goldstone emails Trump Jr.:
Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday.
I believe you are aware of the meeting – and so wondered if 3pm or later on Thursday works for you?
It’s still not clear, but this email may suggest that Trump Jr. and Agalarov spoke.
Trump Jr. suggests a meeting at 3 p.m. This is later changed to 4 p.m.
Trump wins the primaries in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota, giving him the delegates to officially clinch the Republican nomination.
During his victory speech that night, Trump promises more dirt on Clinton.
I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.
The following Monday was June 13.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican Party, enters Trump Tower. He’s there as the Trump campaign launches its effort to fundraise for the general election.
Trump attacks Hillary Clinton on Twitter.
Rob Goldstone checks in to Trump Tower on Facebook. “Preparing for meeting,” he writes.
Goldstone checks in at Trump Tower again, though this time he accidentally selects Trump Tower Indonesia.
The meeting takes place, lasting about half an hour. In attendance are Trump Jr., Manafort, Kushner, Veselnitskaya and Goldstone.
According to Trump Jr., Veselnitskaya offered no useful information about the Clinton campaign.
“Her statements were vague, ambiguous, and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information,” he said in a statement to the Times. When Veselnitskaya turned the subject to sanctions, Trump Jr. says he told her that his “father was not an elected official, but rather a private citizen, and that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office.”
In an interview with NBC, Veselnitskaya said that Kushner only stayed for the first seven to 10 minutes and didn’t return. She also said that Manafort was looking at his phone the whole time.
Trump responds to Hillary Clinton’s insult by mentioning the deleted emails.
Trump gives a speech in New Hampshire focused on national security. Later in the month, he again promises a speech targeting Clinton directly.
A person calling himself “Guccifer 2.0″ releases a DNC opposition file on Trump, stolen from the Democratic Party’s network. It’s the first of a flood of leaks that would come over the next few months.
The FBI begins a counterintelligence operation focused on Russia’s attempts to meddle in the 2016 election.