On Tuesday morning, the president’s son tweeted out emails between him and a liaison to a Russian lawyer.
Donald Trump Jr., the President’s oldest son, upended the news cycle on Tuesday morning when he preempted a New York Times story and released — on Twitter — records of his email communication with a man who connected him with a Russian lawyer that allegedly had dirt on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
When pitched, Trump responded to entertainment publicist Rob Goldstone, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
In an exclusive interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News Tuesday night, Trump said he “would have done things a little differently,” but largely defended his conduct, which he said occurred “before the Russia mania.” Tuesday’s drama was the latest twist in an ongoing saga that has the potential to further destabilize the Trump administration.
“For me, this was opposition research,” Trump told Hannity. “They had something, you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I’d been hearing about that were probably underreported for a year, not just during the campaign. So I think I wanted to hear it out. But really it went nowhere and it was apparent that wasn’t what the meeting was about.”
In opening the segment, a feisty Hannity said, “For all the members of the Destroy Trump media that have to tune in tonight, get out your pad and your pen and maybe you’ll even learn something.” He said that Democrats and the mainstream media “are right now hysterical over the story,” and encouraged the media to cover what he called “Ukrainian collusion” with the Clinton campaign.
Trump said “there was some bait and switch” in the lead-up to the meeting, and that Goldstone puffed up the story a bit. “There is nothing there,” though, Trump said he concluded after the meeting.
Hannity’s questions throughout the interview were favorably leading, and he generally did not press Trump on any holes in his argument. “Look, this is an opinion show,” he said to Trump. “But I wanted to ask every question I could think of regarding this issue.”
Discussing media coverage of Tuesday’s email bombshell, Trump said, “I think the media has really done themselves a disservice by picking sides so flagrantly. … I think it’s pushing regular people away.”