Donald Trump Jr. was told in an email before meeting a Russian lawyer who he thought had material damaging to Hillary Clinton that it was part of a Russian government bid to aid his father’s presidential campaign, the New York Times said on Monday.
Citing three people with knowledge of the email, the paper said publicist Rob Goldstone indicated in the message to U.S. President Donald Trump’s eldest son that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information, reports Reuters.
Trump Jr did not indicate in a statement on Sunday that he had been told the lawyer might be a proxy for the Kremlin.
The email is likely to be of interest to investigators examining whether any Trump associates colluded with the Russian government to sway last year’s election, the Times said.
Trump Jr. hired a lawyer on Monday to represent him in the Russia-related investigations as prominent Republicans voiced concern about the meeting between the president’s son and a Russian.
Allegations of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia have cast a shadow over the Republican president’s first months in office and sparked investigations by congressional committees and a federal special counsel, Robert Mueller, into whether Russia interfered in the election and colluded with the Trump campaign.
Moscow denies interfering and Trump, who became president on Jan. 20, says there was no collusion.
“It’s a very serious development,” Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC of the Times report. “It all warrants thorough investigation. Everyone who was in that meeting ought to come before our committee.”