“In a statement,” the Times reported, “Donald Jr. described the meeting as primarily about an adoption program. The statement did not address whether the presidential campaign was discussed.”
July 9: The Times reported that the presidential campaign was discussed. Citing five unnamed sources, including three White House advisers, the Times reported that Trump Jr. agreed to meet with Veselnitskaya on the belief that she possessed damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
Presented with the Times’s new finding, Trump Jr. confirmed his motivation for meeting with Veselnitskaya but insisted that the information she provided was useless and maintained that adoption was the primary focus.
“It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting,” Trump Jr. said in a statement.
July 10 at 2:15 p.m. Eastern: The Washington Post reported that the meeting at Trump Tower was arranged by music publicist Rob Goldstone at the request of Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star whose family has ties to the Kremlin and has conducted business with President Trump in the past.
The Post’s Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger explained that “Emin Agalarov and his father, Aras Agalarov, a wealthy Moscow real estate developer, helped sponsorMiss Universe pageant, then owned by Trump, in Russia in 2013. After the pageant, the Agalarovs signed a preliminary deal with Trump to build a tower bearing his name in Moscow, though the deal has been on hold since Trump began running for president.”
July 10 at 9:05 p.m. Eastern: The Times reported that Goldstone told Trump Jr. in an email before the meeting with Veselnitskaya that the offer of incriminating information about Clinton was part of a Russian government scheme to hurt Clinton’s candidacy and aid Donald Trump’s. The newspaper said it did not possess a copy of the email but relied on the descriptions of three people.
The Times noted that Trump Jr. previously “gave no indication that he thought the lawyer might have been a Kremlin proxy.” Veselnitskaya previously denied representing the Russian government in the meeting.
The email meant that Trump Jr. was aware that the Russian government was trying — to some extent, anyway — to influence the U.S. presidential race and was willing to participate.
July 11 at 11:06 a.m. Eastern: The Times reported that it had obtained Goldstone's email to Trump Jr., sent June 3, 2016. Minutes earlier, Trump Jr. — apparently aware that the Times was about to publish another story — tweeted a statement and shared a string of emails between him and Goldstone.
In his initial message, Goldstone wrote that Aras Agalarov had just met with a senior Russian official who “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.”
Goldstone added: “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump."
“If it's what you say I love it,” Trump Jr. wrote back.
In a subsequent message, Goldstone referred to Veselnitskaya as a “Russian government attorney.”
In his statement posted on Twitter, Trump Jr. once again downplayed the value of the information Veselnitskaya provided and offered an explanation for why he agreed to meet with her: “To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue.”
This post has been updated.