BREAKING NEWS : Fort Wayne Police remain quiet days after officer shoots man Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : Family of Mario Gilmer Jr. sets up GoFundMe for funeral costs following canceled safety alert Full Story

What happened at the 2016 Trump Tower meeting?

CNN's Tom Foreman breaks down some of the key players involved in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Posted: May 17, 2018 10:34 AM
Updated: May 17, 2018 10:36 AM

What can we learn about the Russia probe from the thousands of pages released by the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday? The voluminous testimony and exhibits pertaining to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting -- including 224 pages of Donald J. Trump Jr.'s testimony from September 7, 2017 -- tell us much about two key prongs of interest in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The first is attempted coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and the second is possible obstruction of justice regarding the investigation into that potential collusion.

And Trump Jr.'s testimony? It's a predictable variation on the recent theme we've seen emerge over the past few weeks from team Trump's explanations regarding the Stormy Daniels hush money payment: inconsistencies abound.

In the transcript from Trump Jr.'s testimony, he says, "(I)n his email to me Rob suggested that someone had official documents and information that would incriminate Hilary Clinton and her dealings with Russia and that the information would be very useful to the campaign." The email he refers to is from Rob Goldstone, the publicist, to Trump Jr. on June 3, 2016, and that "someone" turned out to be Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who attended the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting along with Trump Jr., Paul Manafort (Donald Trump's then-campaign manager), and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. We now know that -- despite her early denials of ties to Putin -- Veselnitskaya is, in fact, a Russian informant.

Remember, federal law prohibits foreign nationals, directly or indirectly, from making contributions, donations of money -- or any "thing of value," in connection with a federal election.

In the context of this particular charge, "knowingly" refers to the state of mind of the person accepting the thing of value, and NOT knowledge of the law prohibiting accepting money from foreign nationals. So the argument that perhaps Trump Jr. was simply such a political neophyte that he may not have been aware of the laws surrounding campaign contributions doesn't hold up.

His testimony indicates that he knew he was getting "official documents" that could be "very useful to the campaign." That testimony falls squarely within the campaign finance law statutes and at least suggests that there was a willingness on the part of Trump Jr. to engage in preliminary discussions "regarding the acceptance of such information, which could be considered a "thing of value" under the law.

Regarding the now infamously misleading statement that Trump Jr. released after news of the June 2016 meeting broke -- that the participants had "primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children" -- his testimony reveals that his account of what happened diverges materially from reporting by the Washington Post. The Post reported in July 2017 that "according to people with knowledge of events," President Trump actually dictated the statement on the way home from Germany on Air Force One on July 8 of that year.

When asked by the Judiciary Committee how his statements regarding the meeting evolved, and whether his father in fact drafted the statement, Trump Jr. responded: "I don't know. I never spoke with my father about it." When asked if he knew if Trump had provided any "edits" or "input" to the statement, he said "(h)e may have commented through Hope Hicks."

According to Trump Jr., when Hicks asked Trump Jr. if he wanted to speak directly to his father about the statement, Trump Jr. said, "I chose not to because I didn't want to bring him into something that he had nothing to do with."

Regardless of whether or not any "dirt" on Hillary Clinton actually materialized after the Trump Tower meeting, any effort on the part of Donald Trump or Trump Jr. to mislead investigators (including through the issuance of public statements) about the nature of the meeting could certainly be used as evidence of the Trump campaign's coordinated effort to obfuscate the story of what actually took place. Of course, the culminating piece of evidence in any obstruction of justice case would likely be the firing of FBI director James Comey.

This document dump, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Mueller's appointment to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, is providing more fodder for the special counsel to scrutinize the underlying motivations of both Trump himself and other key players in the saga, and to check the veracity of Trump Jr.'s statements against the actual facts.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 749532

Reported Deaths: 13746
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030911775
Lake554681006
Allen41636691
St. Joseph36947564
Hamilton36527416
Elkhart29363459
Tippecanoe22862225
Vanderburgh22542400
Porter19331325
Johnson18405388
Hendricks17588317
Clark13200193
Madison13120344
Vigo12604253
LaPorte12394221
Monroe12163175
Delaware10947198
Howard10263225
Kosciusko9614119
Hancock8549144
Bartholomew8162157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7772180
Grant7229179
Wayne7155201
Boone6917103
Morgan6736141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6206116
Cass5991108
Henry5894108
Dearborn588978
Noble580186
Jackson508674
Shelby500897
Lawrence4732121
Gibson444093
Harrison440773
Clinton440055
DeKalb438785
Montgomery434690
Whitley406042
Huntington402281
Steuben399259
Miami392768
Jasper386954
Knox375790
Putnam372160
Wabash360583
Ripley346570
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White330253
Daviess3031100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284864
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269955
Clay265848
Washington244934
Randolph244683
Jennings235149
Spencer234231
Starke227558
Fountain218647
Sullivan213943
Owen211058
Fulton201542
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175726
Vermillion173644
Franklin170235
Tipton165846
Parke149016
Pike138034
Blackford136132
Pulaski120247
Newton112736
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton101014
Martin91515
Warren83615
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107225

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1285061459
Cuyahoga1156322204
Hamilton812991245
Montgomery524951040
Summit48356999
Lucas43309817
Butler38903603
Stark33297929
Lorain25641502
Warren24558303
Mahoning22332601
Lake21139385
Clermont20098252
Delaware18819135
Licking16649222
Fairfield16564204
Trumbull16527479
Medina15597270
Greene15256246
Clark14223306
Wood13281197
Portage13229214
Allen11903239
Richland11598211
Miami10837223
Wayne9116222
Columbiana9023230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8652122
Tuscarawas8639247
Marion8635138
Erie8052164
Ashtabula7139179
Hancock6996131
Ross6934161
Geauga6832150
Scioto6530104
Belmont6149174
Union583849
Lawrence5723102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5437125
Darke5415129
Seneca5344126
Washington5308109
Athens523360
Auglaize501687
Mercer487285
Shelby476295
Knox4568112
Madison443765
Ashland435197
Putnam4334103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4033110
Brown401961
Logan387377
Preble3847103
Clinton378566
Ottawa372781
Highland359465
Williams347878
Champaign343858
Guernsey324253
Jackson317554
Perry297150
Morrow291340
Fayette285350
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2699101
Coshocton268459
Van Wert247264
Adams242956
Pike242735
Gallia240550
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll196948
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135839
Harrison113738
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 59°
Angola
Clear
° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: °
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 56°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 59°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 56°
It'll be another pleasant day with sunshine and highs in the upper 70s.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events