Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian lawyer: A timeline

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor
Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York City, January 2017. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

Donald Trump Jr. released an email chain on Tuesday that shows he agreed to meet with a Russian lawyer last June in order to obtain damaging information about his father’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. In the exchange published on Twitter by Trump Jr., his friend, music publicist Rob Goldstone, informed him that the “very high-level and sensitive information” was part of the Russian government’s support for Trump, who was then the presumptive Republican nominee. Trump’s then campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and now a senior White House adviser, also attended the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower.

Critics say the emails are the clearest evidence of the Trump campaign’s alleged contact with Russia to publicly emerge since the federal probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election was launched late last year.

Here is a timeline of key events related to the Trump campaign and Russia.

June 3, 2016

Goldstone emails Trump Jr. about setting up a meeting with a “Russian government lawyer” who is said to have damaging information about Clinton.

Trump Jr. responds 17 minutes later. “Thanks Rob, I appreciate that. … If it’s what you say I love it, especially later in the summer,” he writes.

June 7, 2016

Goldstone emails Trump Jr. to settle on a time of the meeting, scheduled for the next day. Trump Jr. replies, saying Manafort and Kushner will also attend, and then forwards the email exchange to them.

During a primary night victory speech, Donald Trump promises to soon deliver a “major speech” that he hints will include revelations about the Clinton family.

“We’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons,” Trump tells his supporters. “I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.”

June 9, 2016

2:22 p.m.: Trump tweets: “Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obama—but nobody else does!”


2:27 p.m.: Clinton responds: “Delete your account.”


Trump, who was attending a Republican fundraiser at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, returns to Trump Tower in the early afternoon.

4 p.m.: Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort meet with the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.

4:40 p.m.: Trump tweets: “How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up — and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?”


June 19, 2016

Trump Jr. delivers a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

“Let me tell you something about risk,” Trump Jr. tells GOP delegates. “If Hillary Clinton were elected, she’d be the first president who couldn’t pass a basic background check. It’s incredible. Hillary Clinton is a risk Americans can’t afford to take.”

Donald Trump Jr. speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 19, 2016. (Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters)

July 24, 2016

On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, Clinton campaign chairman Robby Mook tells CNN’s Jake Tapper that cybersecurity analysts have concluded Russia was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s servers. Trump Jr. responds in a separate interview with Tapper later in the show.

“It just goes to show you their exact moral compass,” Trump Jr. says. “They’ll say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time and time again, lie after lie. He won’t say, ‘Well, I say this.’ We hear ‘experts,’ you know, his house cat once said this is what’s happening with the Russians. It’s disgusting. It’s so phony.”

July 27, 2016

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump says at a press conference at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Sept. 23, 2016

Yahoo News Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff reports that intelligence officials were probing whether Trump campaign adviser Carter Page — who has significant business investments in Russia — had met with Russian officials in Moscow in July.

Sept. 26, 2016

Page steps down while disputing allegations that he engaged in private communications with Russian government officials.

During the first presidential debate, Trump is asked if he believes Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s servers.

“It could be Russia, but it could also be China,” Trump says. “It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

Oct. 7, 2016

The Obama administration releases a joint statement from the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence officially concluding the Russian government was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

The Washington Post releases the infamous Access Hollywood tape that caught Donald Trump bragging about assaulting women.

WikiLeaks releases its trove of Clinton campaign emails.

Trump embraces Trump Jr. during his election night rally in New York, Nov. 9, 2016. (Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters)

Nov. 8, 2016

Donald Trump is elected 45th president of the United States.

April 18, 2017

Trump Jr. is asked by Sean Hannity of Fox News whether the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia bother him. Trump Jr. says there is “nothing, no proof, no evidence,” of a conspiracy.

“It does anger me because I know the truth,” Trump Jr. adds. “I know what’s there. I was a part of it for so long. [That] is very frustrating. And it’s hard to believe for me, as an American, that so many people basically rally against what makes sense for America, what the American people voted into office.”

May 6, 2017

Trump Jr. shares a New York Post article entitled, “Bad news for the Trump-Russia tinfoil-hat brigade,” which reported on an exchange between former FBI director James Comey and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., who asked if Russia favored Trump because he was “ensnared in their web of patronage.” Comey replied no.

June 8, 2017

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies to the Senate Intelligence Committee about the FBI investigation. Trump Jr. tells Sean Hannity that Comey’s assertion that his father was not under investigation when he was in charge of the bureau should exonerate the president.

“This has been a 10-month witch hunt,” Trump Jr. says. “This is the only thing that they had on Trump. This is what they did to distract him from being able to get the stuff done that he was elected to ultimately do. And I think now that this has all passed, he can go back to doing what he promised he was going to do. There’s no clouds. There’s nothing getting in his way.”

June 10, 2017

Trump Jr. appears to contradict his father’s account of a conversation between the president and Comey about the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn while seeming to confirm Comey’s version.

The week before, Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Trump had told him, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”

Trump denied ever saying that to Comey.

“I didn’t say that,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House Rose Garden. “I didn’t say that. I mean, I will tell you, I didn’t say that.”

But Trump Jr., while calling Comey’s testimony “basically ridiculous,” went on to tell Fox News host Jeanine Pirro: “You and I both know my father a long time. When he tells you to do something, guess what, there’s no ambiguity in it. There’s no, ‘Hey, I’m hoping.’ You and I are friends, ‘Hey, hope this happens, but you get to do your job.’ That’s what he told Comey.”

July 8, 2017

The New York Times reports that Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the campaign. In response, Trump Jr. gives them the following statement:

 

“It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up. I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.”

 

July 9, 2017

After the Times reported that Trump Jr. was promised information related to Clinton to secure the meeting, he released a longer statement:

 

“I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign. I was not told her name prior to the meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to attend, but told them nothing of the substance. We had a meeting in June 2016. After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information. She then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act. It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting. I interrupted and advised her that my father was not an elected official, but rather a private citizen, and that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office. The meeting lasted approximately 20 to 30 minutes. As it ended, my acquaintance apologized for taking up our time. That was the end of it and there was no further contact or follow-up of any kind. My father knew nothing of the meeting or these events.”

 

July 10, 2017

Trump Jr. mocks the controversy over a meeting that he says “went nowhere but had to listen.”


“No inconsistency in statements, meeting ended up being primarily about adoptions. In response to further Q’s I simply provided more details.”



July 11, 2017

Trump Jr. dismisses interest in the “nonsense meeting.”


At an off-camera press briefing at the White House, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders relayed Trump’s lone statement on the email: “My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency.”

Donald Trump Jr. after speaking at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 19, 2016. (Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters)

— With Yahoo News’ Gabby Kaufman and Christopher Wilson contributing reporting

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