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Transcripts Show Members of Trump Campaign Were Seeking Dirt on Clinton From the Kremlin

Thousands of pages of interview transcripts released by the Senate Judiciary Committee have revealed new details about how Donald Trump Jr. and Trump's campaign team were seeking dirt on Hillary Clinton. They tried to obtain the damaging information from a lawyer from Russia just five months before the 2016 election.

No information found in the papers will change the course of the investigation into the campaign team's collusion with Russia, but shed light on the infamous meeting.

In June of 2016, Trump Jr. got an email from Rob Goldstone, a British music publicist.

"I just sent somebody an email that says I'm setting up a meeting for someone that is going to bring you damaging information about somebody who was running to become the President of the United States," Goldstone said. "I thought that was worthy of the words 'smoking gun,' yes."

Goldstone notes he thought it was a 'bad idea and that we shouldn’t do it'.

Trump Jr.'s response to the email was, "[I]f it's what you say, I love it."

The meeting was set up, involving Trump Jr., Trump's son in law and White House aide Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, who was Trump's campaign manager at the time. Also at the Trump Tower meeting was Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who promised to deliver the dirt on Clinton.

The meeting lasted around 20 minutes, and Veselnitskaya failed to deliver the promised information. Instead, she wanted to discuss U.S. sanctions against Russia under the Magnitsky Act.

"Jared Kushner, who is sitting next to me, appeared somewhat agitated by this and said, 'I really have no idea what you're talking about. Could you please focus a bit more and maybe just start again?'" Goldstone said later in the interview. "And I recall that she began the presentation exactly where she had begun it last time, almost word for word, which seemed, by his body language, to infuriate him even more."

Trump Jr. said in his interview later, "I had no way of assessing where it came from, but I was willing to listen."

There is some discrepancy in the interviews about how long Kushner was present for the meeting. Some said he left in the middle, while others thought he remained for the duration.

The meeting became public about a year after it took place, and became a focus of the Mueller investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, and whether or not the President's campaign team colluded with Russia in election meddling. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley released the pages on Wednesday, declaring that it was 'the public's business'

Democrats are unhappy with the outcome of the interviews, saying that there are still too many unanswered questions.

"We still do not know the full story about the June 9 meeting or, more broadly, the degree to which the campaign cooperated or communicated with Russia," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif-D).

"I have no confidence that he has told the whole truth," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn- D). "My impression from watching Donald Trump, Jr in that meeting is that he evaded and contradicted himself in many of his answers, and he needs to come back before the committee and testify in person under oath."

Source: CNN
Photos: Kremlin, theglobalpanorama/Flickr, Gage Skidmore

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