President Trump defends son over emails to Russian billionaire who denied any email exchange

President Trump defends son over emails to Russian billionaire who denied any email exchange

A Russian billionaire has dismissed as fiction, emails released by Donald Trump jnr, eldest son of President Trump, which identify him as a potential

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A Russian billionaire has dismissed as fiction, emails released by Donald Trump jnr, eldest son of President Trump, which identify him as a potential middleman for allegedly incriminating Kremlin information on Hillary Clinton. The emails have thrust Donald Trump Jr into the centre of a growing scandal over whether the US president’s associates colluded with Moscow in its alleged efforts to try to tilt the 2016 election in the Republican’s favour.

An email from British music promoter, Rob Goldstone to Trump Jr released on Tuesday claims an offer was allegedly made by Russia’s general prosecutor to provide the Trump campaign with  documents on Clinton during a meeting with real estate mogul, Aras Agalarov. Goldstone says the Russian prosecutor offered to provide the Trump campaign with very high level and sensitive information as part of Russia and its government’s support for his father.

Goldstone claimed to have been tipped off by Agalarov’s pop star son, Emin, whom he managed, and later helped to organise a meeting between a Russian lawyer and Trump Jr to discuss the alleged information. The Agalarov family once established ties to the Trumps and brought the future US leader to Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe beauty competition.

But Agalarov has rubbished the emails touting him as a possible go-between for the Trumps and the Kremlin and said he only vaguely knew Goldstone. In the email exchange which was released by Trump Jr, the president’s eldest son suggested he would love to get any dirt on Clinton.

US intelligence agencies have accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of approving a hacking and influencing the US presidential campaign to sway the vote, claims fiercely denied in Moscow. Trump Jr and two other top campaign officials eventually met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya but both sides insist she provided no information on Clinton.

Meanwhile, President Trump has defended his eldest son, saying his son is open, transparent and innocent. In a statement, Trump leapt to his son’s defense, saying,          
“My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!”

But the 39-year-old Trump jnr., who runs the family real estate business has said that he went along to see what it was about.
“For me this was opposition research, they had something, you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I’d been hearing about,” he said.

He said he didn’t mention the meeting to his father, President Trump after it failed to yield any compromising information, describing it as such a nothing. The president’s lawyer Jay Sekulow also said Trump had not been aware of his son’s meeting with the Russian lawyer until very recently and did not know about the emails.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian President, Vladimir Putin approved a mass effort to tilt the election in Trump’s favour, including hacking and leaking embarrassing emails from Democrats. This latest disclosure all but ensures the president’s son will come under scrutiny by investigators in Congress and at the FBI who are probing whether Trump’s team was in the know.

In a statement accompanying the emails, Trump Jr said the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was not a government official insisting that he and those with him didn’t know who she was before the meeting. Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, two of Trump’s most trusted campaign officials, also attended the meeting.

AFP