Last summer, Donald Trump Jr. called the accusation of Russian interference to help his father’s campaign “disgusting.” But emails he released Tuesday show that the president’s son knew even then that Russia was very interested in helping the Trump campaign — because he’d already set up a meeting about it.
Trump talked about the prospect of Russian interference on live TV in July 2016, slamming Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook for suggesting that Russia might have been involved in leaking emails from the Democratic National Committee.
FLASHBACK: Don Jr. July 24, 2016. On the Clinton campaign's claims that the Russians were helping Trump: "It's disgusting. It's so phony." pic.twitter.com/xnD386ewMq— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 11, 2017
In the clip above, CNN anchor Jake Tapper asks Trump Jr. about Mook’s allegations that Russian state actors were behind the leaked DNC emails. Trump Jr.’s response is staggering, considering what we know now:
TAPPER: [Mook] seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Your response?
TRUMP JR.: Well, just goes to show you their exact moral compass. They’ll say anything to be able to win this. This is time and time again, lie after lie. You notice he won’t say, “Well, I say this,” he’ll say, “Here are experts, here’s house cat at home who once said this is what’s happening with the Russians.” It’s disgusting; it’s so phony.
Trump Jr. also went on to say that Mook ought to be “ashamed of himself” for spreading the idea that Russia was working in support of the Trump campaign. But just weeks earlier, in early June, British publicist Rob Goldstone had informed Trump Jr. about “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”