I had nothing compromising about Clinton, says Russian who met with Trump's son
A Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr during the 2016 election campaign has said she had no compromising information on Hillary Clinton to offer - in contrast to what an email exchange released by the US president's eldest son suggests.
Asked if she had compromising information on the Democrat candidate, Natalia Veselnitskaya said that was "not true".
She added: "I never had compromising information and could not have had."
She insisted she "offered to meet with Trump Jr" in a "private setting not connected to the fact that he is the son of the presidential candidate".
Ms Veselnitskaya also claimed she is not sure Mr Trump had even won the Republican nomination to run for the White House at that time.
Earlier, Mr Trump said his son is "a high-quality person" as he applauded "his transparency".
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders read a brief statement from the president in response to revelations that Mr Trump Jr agreed to hear apparently damaging information on Mrs Clinton from Russian officials.
Mr Trump Jr posted his emails with publicist Rob Goldstone on Twitter on Tuesday.
The emails with Mr Goldstone show Mr Trump Jr was told the Russian government had information that could "incriminate" Mrs Clinton and her dealings with Russia.
Mr Trump Jr eagerly accepted help from what was described to him as a Russian government effort to aid his father's campaign, according to the emails.
The email exchange represents the clearest sign to date that members of the president's inner circle were willing to meet during the campaign with Russians who wanted Mr Trump to prevail.
US intelligence agencies have said the Russian government meddled in the election through hacking to aid Mr Trump.
The emails show Mr Trump Jr conversing with a music publicist who wanted him to meet Ms Veselnitskaya.
The publicist describes the lawyer as a "Russian government attorney" who has dirt on Mrs Clinton as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr Trump".
In one response, Mr Trump Jr said he would "love" to hear more.
Mr Trump Jr, who was deeply involved in his father's presidential campaign, released the emails along with a statement describing the disclosure as an effort "to be totally transparent".
Hours after the emails were released, the president rose to his son's defence.
"My son is a high quality person and I applaud his transparency," Mr Trump said in the statement read to reporters by Mrs Huckabee Sanders. She referred all questions about the emails to outside lawyers hired by the president's son.
The messages were the latest disclosure to roil the ongoing investigation into potential co-ordination between Mr Trump's campaign and Russia, which US intelligence agencies have said sought to influence the outcome of the election in Mr Trump's favour.
As congressional committees and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, investigate, the emails will almost certainly be reviewed for any signs of potential campaign collusion with the Kremlin, which the White House has repeatedly denied.
The actions described in Mr Trump Jr's emails brought swift and firm reaction from Democrats, including a key member of the Senate intelligence committee.
"These emails show there is no longer a question of whether this campaign sought to collude with a hostile foreign power to subvert America's democracy," said senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.
Yet other senators urged caution. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who sits on the intelligence committee, said the emails "certainly raise questions", but added "we're seeing only part of the picture". She called on the committee to interview Mr Trump Jr and those involved in the meeting.
In the emails, Mr Goldstone wrote to Mr Trump Jr that the information "would be very useful to your father".
"If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer," Mr Trump Jr replied to Mr Goldstone in one of a series of email exchanges the younger Trump posted to Twitter.