Trump’s Team Knew About His Son’s Russia Emails Weeks Ago — REPORT

by Seth Millstein
Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Yahoo News reported Thursday that President Trump's lawyers knew about the email chain in which his son agreed to meet with a Russian lawyer claiming to have incriminating information on Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Trump had said Wednesday that he only learned of the email chain "a couple of days ago."

On Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out the email exchange in which he made plans to sit down with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. In the conversation, Trump Jr. is informed that Veselnitskaya had "information that would incriminate Hillary," and that the meet up was "part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump." Trump Jr. replied enthusiastically, saying, "I love it," and ultimately having the meeting.

Trump told Reuters on Wednesday that he he didn't know about the meeting when it happened, and only learned about it "a few days ago." But sources told Yahoo News that Trump's head lawyer in the Russia probe, Mark Kasowitz, as well as Alan Garten, the executive vice president and chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, were both informed of the existence and contents of the email thread during the third week of June. Kasowitz and Garten reportedly learned about the meeting after it was discovered by lawyers for Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and top adviser, who also attended the meeting.

Trump spoke with the press on Air Force One Wednesday night, and although the comments were ostensibly off-the-record, the White House published excerpts of them regardless. According to the White House's transcript, Trump said, "I only heard about [the meeting] a couple of days ago."

But according to multiple news outlets and reporters, the White House transcript omitted an exchange in which Trump said that "in fact, maybe [the meeting] was mentioned at some point." According to those same reports, Trump was then asked if he knew that the meeting was about procuring damaging information about Clinton, and he said that he didn't.

Former FBI Director and special counsel Robert Mueller is currently investigating the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. If the Yahoo News report is correct, Trump's lawyers knew about both the existence of the meeting and what was discussed during it as recently as the third week of June.

Given that Kasowitz is Trump's chief legal counsel for all things related to Russia, it would seem unlikely for him to keep his client in the dark about such a potentially explosive and relevant document. A former ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush told Yahoo News that the prospect of Trump's lawyers not telling him about the email chain was "unbelievable." That said, it hasn't been proven that either Kasowitz or Garten informed Trump of the meeting.

A spokesperson for Kasowitz told Yahoo News that his conversations with Trump are "privileged information" and refused to reveal what they have or haven't discussed.