Don Jr. Defends Trump Tower Meeting: “I’m Allowed to Have a Conversation With People, Aren’t I?”

The president’s son didn’t want to talk about Russia.

Donald Trump Jr.

Donald Trump Jr. speaks at a 2019 campaign rally in Cincinnati.John Minchillo/AP

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Mother Jones’ David Corn was eating breakfast on the campaign trail in Manchester, New Hampshire, Tuesday morning when Donald Trump Jr. walked into the diner. Corn took the opportunity to ask the president’s son about the infamous June 2016 Trump tower meeting, when Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner met with a Russian lawyer in an effort to obtain incriminating information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. In an email arranging the meeting, Trump Jr. had been told that this was “obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Why, Corn asked Trump Jr., had he agreed to meet with the Russian emissary?

 

“We’ve spoken about this a thousand times,” Trump Jr. responded. “I’ve testified about it, unlike Hunter Biden.”

When Corn pressed further, Trump Jr. added that he is “always happy to hear [what’s on] people’s minds. I’m allowed to have a conversation with people, aren’t I?”

“Of course you could do it,” Corn responded. “I’m asking why you thought it was appropriate to do it. Because you were told it was part of a Russian government effort to help the campaign.”

“No, he wasn’t told that,” replied Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is a Trump campaign adviser and Trump Jr.’s girlfriend.

But yes, he was.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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