In an interview with Sean Hannity Tuesday night on FoxNews, Donald Trump Jr. said he “probably would have done things a little differently” when he met with a Russian attorney during his father’s presidential campaign in June 2016.
“This [was] pre-Russia fever. This [was] pre-Russia mania,” Trump Jr. told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “I don’t think my sirens went [off] or my antenna went up at this time because it wasn’t the issue that it’s been made out to be over the last nine months, ten months.”
However, the president’s eldest son also described the meeting as “nothing,” adding, “I wouldn’t have even remembered it until you started scouring through this stuff. It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame.”
The interview constituted the first public statement by Donald Trump Jr. since he posted what he called “the entire email chain” of his conversations with music publicist Rob Goldstone, who set up the June 2016 meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya on Twitter.
I don’t think my sirens went (off) or my antenna went up at this time because it wasn’t the issue that it’s been made out to be...Donald Trump, Jr.
Trump Jr.’s response email read, in part, “if it’s what you say I love it.”
The meeting has touched off a media firestorm with some calling his act “treason.” Donald Trump Jr. said about the mainstream media, “I think they’ve done themselves a pretty big disservice by going so far, by going so extreme, by being so sensational, and I think it’s pushing regular people away.”
“I had been reading about scandals that people were probably underreporting for a long time, so maybe it was something that had to do with one of those things,” Trump Jr. told Hannity when asked about his reaction to Goldstone’s email. “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 can’t help what someone sends me. I read it, I responded accordingly.”
The emails between Trump Jr. and Goldstone contain no evidence that the president’s son was informed of the larger alleged Russian effort to meddle in the U.S. presidential election.
On Tuesday afternoon, President Trump issued a statement supporting his son’s decision to make the email chain public, calling Trump Jr. “a high-quality person,” adding, “I applaud his transparency.” The president’s outside legal counsel has repeatedly denied that the elder Trump knew about or attended the meeting.