The Russian lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr after his father won the 2016 US Republican presidential nomination has said she is ready to testify to Congress to dispel the “mass hysteria” about the encounter.
In an interview with Russia’s state-funded TV network RT, Ms Veselnitskaya said:
“I’m ready to clarify the situation behind this mass hysteria — but only through lawyers or testifying in the Senate.”
US President Donald Trump’s eldest son eagerly agreed last year to meet Natalia Veselnitskaya, a woman he was told was a Russian Government lawyer who might have damaging information about Democratic White House rival Hillary Clinton, according to emails released by Donald Trump Jr.
“The Crown prosecutor of Russia … 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,” said the June 3, 2016, email to Mr Trump Jr from publicist Rob Goldstone.
“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its Government’s support for Mr Trump.”
Mr Trump Jr partly replied: “If it’s what you say I love it.”
The email chain was between Donald Trump Jr, who posted it on Twitter, and Mr Goldstone, an intermediary who helped to arrange the meeting with the lawyer, which eventually took place on June 9, 2016.
Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former campaign manager Paul Manafort were also included in sections of the email thread to set up the meeting.
Ms Veselnitskaya has previously said she is a private lawyer, she never obtained damaging information about Mrs Clinton, and she has no ties with the Kremlin.
Russian officials have repeatedly denied US allegations Moscow interfered in the presidential campaign to help Mr Trump win the White House.
The emails offered the most concrete evidence to date Mr Trump’s campaign officials embraced Russian help to win — a subject that has cast a cloud over his presidency and spurred investigations by the Justice Department and Congress.
Mr Trump Jr’s correspondence does not appear to provide evidence of illegal activity, but legal experts said he could run into trouble if investigators find he aided a criminal action, such as hacking into Democratic computer networks, or violated campaign laws.