Donald Trump Jr. expressed regret at how he handled the situation surrounding his meeting with a Russian attorney last year, telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity in an interview airing Tuesday night that he “probably would have done things a little differently.”
Earlier in the day, Trump released a screenshots of a chain of emails documenting the organization of the meeting with lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, in which he was told by an associate that she had information that would “incriminate” his father’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
Critics of the president pointed to the emails as evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the presidential election.
During his interview on “Hannity,” Trump admitted the situation may have been mishandled, but he said that the meeting was “a nothing,” and maintained that his father had no knowledge of the encounter.
“There was nothing to tell,” said Trump Jr. “I wouldn’t have even remembered it until you started scouring through stuff. It was literally just a waste of 20 minutes, which is a shame.”
“I had been reading about scandals that people were probably under-reporting for a long time, so maybe it was something that had to do with one of those things,” continued Trump. “I didn’t know if there was any credibility, I didn’t know if there was anything behind it, I can’t vouch for the information. Someone sent me an email … I read it. I responded accordingly.”
Portraying his acceptance of the meeting with Veselnitskaya as a “courtesy to an acquaintance,” Trump Jr. did not rule out the possibility that he may have had other meetings with persons from Russia during the campaign, but “not in the context of a formalized meeting.”
The president’s namesake boiled down the encounter to a strategic decision in the course of the campaign.
“For me this was opposition research. They had something, you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I’d been hearing about … so I think I wanted to hear it out,” said Trump. “But really it went nowhere and it was apparent that wasn’t what the meeting was about.”
Trump further confirmed details of the meeting previously delivered by Veselnitskaya in an interview with NBC Tuesday, including that then-Campaign Chair Paul Manafort and his brother-in-law Jared Kushner had minimal involvement in the matter.
Asked by Hannity whether anyone else ever approached him with the offer of information about Clinton, Trump said that the June meeting constituted the only case. He further offered his opinion on the widespread criticism he has faced this week.
“I think it’s a little bit ridiculous and overplayed,” said Trump.
Still, Trump also told Hannity that he would be willing to hand over any material related to the meeting and cooperate with any probes.
In response to being asked by Hannity, “Did you hand over any and all documents?” Trump responded, “I will … More than happy to cooperate with everyone, I just want the truth to get out there … I’m more than happy to be transparent about [the meeting], and I’m more than happy to cooperate with everyone.”
And when Hannity said, “…that means you’ll testify under oath, all of that?” Trump responded, “All of it.”