It was mayhem Tuesday afternoon after Donald Trump Jr. released the full email exchange confirming his interactions with a “Russian government attorney.” After receiving an email that promised information that could “incriminate” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Trump Jr. had a meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya. And yet, Trump Jr. has been denying he or his father's campaign had ties with Russia, dismissing the claim as "phony" and "disgusting."
The emails, between Trump Jr. and British music publicist Rob Goldstone, who set up the meeting with Veselnitskaya, were written in June 2016. Goldstone even went so far as to say it was "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." In one correspondence, Trump Jr. wrote "if it's what you say I love it," and later the duo arranged "a meeting with you and the Russian government attorney."
On Tuesday afternoon, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read a statement from President Trump which said: "My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency."
But how transparent has Trump Jr. actually been? Since his father embarked on his campaign, the younger Trump has vehemently denied any campaign ties with Russia. Below are three crucial times Trump Jr. denied campaign promises from the Kremlin.
1. July 2016 On CNN's State of the Union
In July 2016, on CNN's State of the Union, Trump Jr. told host Jake Tapper that suggestions the Russians were behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee leak as part of a scheme to help Trump win the presidency were "disgusting. It's so phony."
"So, I don't know if you were hearing earlier, but Robby Mook, the campaign manager for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — I asked him about the DNC leak. And he suggested that experts are saying that Russians were behind both the leaking — the hacking of the DNC emails and their emails. He seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton," Tapper said. "Your response?"
"I can't think of bigger lies, but that exactly goes to show you what the DNC and what the Clinton camp will do," Trump Jr. responded. "They will lie and do anything to win."
2. This March In An Interview With The New York Times
In March, Trump Jr. denied having met with any Russians to benefit his father's campaign in an interview with the Times.
"Did I meet with people that were Russian? I'm sure, I'm sure I did," he said. "But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form."
3. This Past Weekend
As recently as this weekend, after allegations surfaced that Trump Jr. had indeed met with Kremlin-linked lawyers during the campaign, the younger Trump claimed it was only to discuss the issue of Russian adoptions in the U.S. "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," he claimed.
A day later, he changed his story and acknowledged the meeting was for campaign purposes, specifically to attain damaging information on Clinton.
By the time Trump Jr. released the email chain on Tuesday, it was clear that he took any measure to strengthen his father's potential presidency — even if that meant collusion with the Russian government. He claims his father was unaware of the meeting.