Did Trump Jr. Talk to His Dad About the Trump Tower Meeting?

Republicans don’t want to know.

Donald Trump Jr. at the White House on April 2, 2018.Chip Somodevilla/CNP via ZUMA

Did Donald Trump Jr. speak to his father in June 2016 about a Russian offer to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton? Republicans on the House intelligence committee haven’t even bothered to find out, their Democratic counterparts say.

Committee Republicans on Friday released a 253-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which says they “found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government.” But Republicans did not try very hard to find such evidence. Democrats on the panel noted that the GOP did not contact many potential witnesses, subpoena sufficient records to check if witness testimony was accurate, or follow up on leads obtained during the probe.

One particularly notable example of the committee’s less-than-zealous approach to the investigation is its analysis of the infamous June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting at which Trump Jr. and other top Trump aides met with a Russian lawyer in an effort to acquire damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Kremlin.

It’s unclear what candidate Trump knew about the meeting, but any involvement by him would certainly be a big deal—new evidence that he was aware of Russian efforts to connect with his campaign. Steve Bannon, the former Trump campaign chief, has said he believes the elder Trump likely knew of the meeting.

The Republican report says that “no witness, including the attendees, testified that candidate Trump was aware of the meeting prior to its public exposure in June 2017.” But a dissenting report released Friday by committee Democrats suggests Republicans did not vigorously pursue the question of what President Trump knew about the meeting.

The meeting was organized on behalf of Aras Agalarov, a construction magnate based in Russia, and his son Emin, a singer. The Agalarovs had partnered with the Trump Organization on the 2013 Miss Universe contest in Moscow. Rob Goldstone, a publicist for Emin Agalarov, emailed Trump Jr. to seek the meeting. In a June 3, 2016, email, Goldstone said that a senior Russian official, as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” had “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.”

Less than 20 minutes late, Trump Jr. responded, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

According to the Democrats’ report, Trump Jr. exchanged calls about the meeting with Emin Agalarov on June 6 at Goldstone’s request. The first call was at 4:04 pm. At 4:27 pm, prior to Trump Jr.’s second call with Emin, Trump Jr. received a call from a “blocked” number. Trump Jr. told the committee last year he did not know who had called him. The Democrats note, however, that Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager, told the committee that Trump Sr.’s “primary residence has a blocked [phone] line.”

Democrats say they made “repeated efforts to obtain the home or cell phone records for then-candidate Trump to determine whether the blocked call was Trump Jr.’s father.” But, they note, “the Majority was unwilling to pursue the matter.”


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.