As his father often does, Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter in the wake of his headline-grabbing admission that he met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last year after being told she had information that could help his father’s campaign. “Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent… went nowhere but had to listen,” he tweeted Monday. His tweets—and the coverage—don’t end there. The latest:
- Politico reacts to that tweet by speaking with former GOP and Democratic campaign operations to find out just how typical it is to take such a meeting. The upshot: not very. Among those it quotes is GOP strategist Stuart Stevens, who put it like so: “When Gore campaign was sent Bush debate brief book, they called FBI. If foreign interests offer you info on former SOS, you call the FBI.”
- Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus on Sunday characterized the meeting as a “big nothing burger,” and Kellyanne Conway said much the same in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo Monday. “Let’s focus on what did not happen in that meeting. … Nothing.” She continued: “Don Jr. has very explicitly stated he didn’t even know the name of the person with whom he was meeting. He agreed to the meeting based on a contact from the Miss Universe Pageant.”
- The New York Times and Washington Post dig into the Miss Universe angle. The Timesreports an acquaintance of Trump Jr.’s, music publicist Rob Goldstone, requested the meeting. The marketing company he headed had a hand in the pageant.
- Per the Post, Goldstone requested Trump Jr. meet with Veselnitskaya at the request of one of his clients, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov who, along with his real-estate developer father, partially sponsored the pageant. The Post doesn’t specify why the Agalarovs would want the younger Trump and Veselnitskaya to meet, writing only, “The involvement of the Agalarovs brings the meeting closer to both Trump’s past business interests and to the Kremlin.”
- Mother Jones takes a deeper dive into Emin Agalarov and how he came to know Trump, a story that involves his New Jersey birth, a marriage to the daughter of Azerbaijan’s president, and a “celebratory dinner in Vegas.”
- The AP notes another element of the story: Trump appeared in a music video with Agalarov in 2013 that was filmed while Trump was in Russia for the pageant.
- The Hill reports GOP Sen. Susan Collins wants the Senate Intelligence Committee—she’s a member—to interview Donald Trump Jr. about the meeting. The Trump son’s tweeted response: “Happy to work with the committee to pass on what I know.”