The mediator who helped arrange the meeting between first son Donald Trump Jr. and Russian contacts during the 2016 presidential race sent follow-up emails to the a high-ranking Trump campaign officials. The emails, which came to light during a congressional hearing, suggested that more was discussed during the controversial meeting than its participants had disclosed.
On Dec. 6, Donald Trump Jr. testified before the House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into the Russian government's role during the 2016 election. During the hearing, lawmakers said they had obtained emails that British publicist Rob Goldstone had sent to Republican nominee Donald Trump's campaign following the meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan, CNN reports.
Donald Trump Jr. reportedly responded that he had been unaware of the emails and that he never discussed the meeting again with Goldstone.
On June 3, 2016, Goldstone contacted Donald Trump Jr. and proposed a meeting between them and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on the premise that she would provide damaging information about Donald Trump's rival, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," Goldstone wrote in an email, according to The New York Times.
"If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer," Donald Trump Jr. responded.
Donald Trump Jr. later asserted that he ended the meeting with Veselnitskaya after it became clear she did not have information on the Clinton campaign and instead wanted to discuss repealing the Magnitsky Act, a package of U.S. sanctions on Russian officials.
On Dec. 6, it was disclosed that Veselnitskaya testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee through written answers that she believed Donald Trump Jr. abruptly ended the meeting because Goldstone had misrepresented what she could provide to the Trump campaign, NBC News reports.
"Today, I understand why it took place to begin with and why it ended so quickly with a feeling of mutual disappointment and time wasted," Veselntiskaya wrote. "The answer lies in the roguish letters of Mr. Goldstone."
Several days after the Trump Tower meeting, Goldstone emailed Trump campaign official Dan Scavino, who is currently the White House director of social media. Goldstone suggested to Scavino that the Trump campaign join a Russian social networking website. The British publicist reportedly pitched the idea as a way to reach out to Russian-Americans and a "cute marketing idea."
Goldstone said the idea was endorsed by "Don and Paul," referring to Donald Trump Jr. and then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. The FBI has since charged Manafort for conspiracy and money laundering.
A source familiar with the matter said that Goldstone first proposed the social media idea to Donald Trump Jr. and Manafort as they concluded the meeting with Veselnitskaya. The exchange had not been previously disclosed.
Goldstone is expected to testify in the the congressional investigations into Russia.