Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are writing a letter to Donald Trump Jr., asking President Trump's eldest son to testify in a public session about his meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last year, chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told CNN.
The request comes days after Donald Trump Jr. released his email chain with Rob Goldstone, who told Donald Trump Jr. that Veselnitskaya had incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump Jr. posted the email chain on Twitter Tuesday, saying he did so in order to be "transparent." But the meeting has raised eyebrows, and lawmakers are demanding more information.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) said on "Fox & Friends" Wednesday that he has written to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to find out how the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. last year entered the U.S. Natalia Veselnitskaya's entry visa had been denied.
Grassley said that if Veselnitskaya was representing a foreign government, she should have been registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and that the law "was not enforced the way it should be enforced."
President Trump defended his son Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter early Wednesday, calling him "open, transparent and innocent." The president was referring to Donald Trump Jr.'s interview on Fox News' "Hannity," on which he addressed his meeting last year with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. President Trump called the growing scandal surrounding the meeting "the greatest Witch Hunt in political history."
My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2017
President Trump also cautioned his Twitter followers against believing the "sources" cited by the "Fake Media."
Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday said he would "probably have done things a little differently" regarding a meeting with a Russian lawyer last year.
"It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame," he told Fox News's Sean Hannity that evening, according to Politico.
"For me this was opposition research, they had something, you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I'd been hearing about, probably under reported for years, not just during the campaign, so I think I wanted to hear it out," Trump added of meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya in 2016.
"But really it went nowhere and it was apparent that this wasn't what the meeting was about."
Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter on Tuesday to release an email chain related to his meeting with a Russian lawyer. Trump said he released the documents "in order to be totally transparent."
The email chain with Rob Goldstone details how they set up the meeting and under what circumstances.
In the chain, Trump tries to set up the meeting with the Russian lawyer after Goldstone sent him an email saying "Let me know when you are free to talk with Emin by phone about this Hilary info."
In the email addressed to Trump on June 3, 2016, Goldstone wrote, "The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father."
"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump," Goldstone added.
The emails Trump released on Twitter did not disclose how he responded to Goldstone's last email.
Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Trump, on Tuesday categorized the Trump campaign's efforts to gather compromising information on Hillary Clinton as "what political campaigns do."
Gorka, speaking on CNN's "New Day," said there was nothing wrong with Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
"Nothing illegal, not in Don Jr.'s meeting," he said.
Gorka said Veselnitskaya had no connection to the Kremlin.
"There was no connection," Gorka said. "She was a private lawyer who had an interest with regard to the Russian adoption program and used a pretext to get a meet with the campaign -- which the campaign representatives almost immediately realized was not done in good faith. That she had another agenda."
Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya told NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday that she was summoned to meet with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign and asked if she had information about Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Veselnitskaya said she received a phone call from a man she didn't know asking her to meet with the Trump campaign. She said she didn't have any information on the Clinton campaign and has never worked for the Russian government.
"It's quite possible they were looking for information," Veselnitskaya said through a translator. "They wanted it so badly."
Donald Trump Jr. received an email before he arranged to meet a Russia lawyer during the 2016 presidential race, according to The New York Times.
The Times reported Monday that the email informed Trump that material the attorney would offer him were part of Russian efforts to win the presidency for his father.
Rob Goldstone, a publicist and former British tabloid reporter, reportedly sent the email to Trump before helping arrange his June 2016 meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Trump purportedly believed that Veselnitskaya would offer damaging information about 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Some Twitter users on Monday expressed outrage at the Times’ report about Trump’s meeting with Veselnitskaya last year.
What's really sad is that YOU would seek help from the Russians to get your father elected...hope you go to prison! You are the lowest slime— Marsha Montgomery (@marsham618) July 11, 2017
Other people on the social media platform defended Donald Trump Jr., who is President Trump’s eldest son.
No collusion you ding bats get it in your heads. Talking to a Russian is no different than talking any other country men— Brenda Underwood (@Brendau717171) July 11, 2017
I will agree with you on that. The media jumps to conclusions before anything is proven! Why not just let the investigations go forward!— Gary (@ggary59) July 11, 2017
Goldstone’s email, as described to The Times by three people, indicates Moscow was the source of the possible hurtful information about Clinton.
The email reportedly does not expand on the Russian government’s wider efforts to help President Trump’s election campaign.
There is purportedly no evidence suggesting a link between the promised information and the Russian government computer hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) last year.
Donald Trump Jr. earlier Monday reportedly hired Alan Futerfas as the attorney to represent him during the probes of Russian meddling in the 2016 race.
The Justice Department, FBI and several congressional committees are conducting the investigations, which include possible ties between Russia and President Trump’s campaign.
The New York Times on Sunday reported that Donald Trump Jr. met with Veselnitskaya after he was promised damaging information about Clinton.
Donald Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya have since denied discussing the 2016 race, with the former claiming they instead discussed U.S. adoptions of Russian children.