Russia

Donald Trump Jr.: The Latest in the Trump–Russia Saga | Megyn Kelly | NBC News

DEVELOPMENT. KATY TUR HAS THE LATEST. >> IT HAPPENED ON JUNE 9th OF LAST YEAR. RIGHT UP THERE ON THE 25th FLOOR OF TRUMP TOWER, THAT MEETING. I WAS STANDING RIGHT BELOW IT, RIGHT THERE, COVERING A CAMPAIGN THAT I LEARNED PRIDED ITSELF ON DEFYING THE RULES. TONIGHT, PEOPLE WITH FIRST-HAND KNOWLEDGE OF THIS UNCONVENTIONAL CAMPAIGN, OF RUSSIAN SPYCRAFT AND OF THE TRUMPS, TAKE US INSIDE, AND TELL US WHY THAT MEETING MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED AT ALL, AND WHY THE RUSSIANS MIGHT HAVE WANTED IT TO. IN ATTENDANCE AT THE NOW INFAMOUS MEETING WERE DONALD TRUMP’S SON, DONALD JUNIOR, HIS SON-IN-LAW JARED KUSHNER, AND CAMPAIGN MANAGER PAUL MANAFORT. THEY WERE MEETING WITH A RUSSIAN LAWYER WHO, DON JUNIOR HAD BEEN TOLD BY E-MAIL, WAS COMING TO PRESENT DAMAGING INFORMATION ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON. DONALD TRUMP JR. SAID HE WAS INTERESTED IN GETTING INFORMATION FROM THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT. SHOULD THAT HAVE RAISED A RED FLAG? >> FOR AN EXPERIENCED CAMPAIGN OPERATIVE? YEAH, IT SHOULD HAVE RAISED A RED FLAG. FOR A FAMILY MEMBER, FOR A FIRST TIME CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IN A WHIRLWIND LIKE WE WERE IN, I’M NOT SURPRISED. >> MICHAEL CAPUTO HAD A FRONT ROW SEAT TO DONALD TRUMP’S PRESIDENTIAL EFFORT. THE VETERAN POLITICAL OPERATIVE HAS BEEN AN ASSOCIATE OF TRUMP’S FOR DECADES AND WAS BROUGHT IN TO HELP INSTILL DISCIPLINE ON THE CAMPAIGN. >> THERE WAS NO CAMPAIGN STRUCTURE IN 2016, IN JUNE OF 2016. IT WAS IT WAS A VERY FRUSTRATING, UNORGANIZED AND UNORTHODOX OPERATION WHERE YOU COULDN’T GET THINGS APPROVED. >> WERE THERE ANY NO-NOS? ANY RED LINES? ANYTHING YOU WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO? >> THERE WASN’T A HANDBOOK. THERE WEREN’T INSTRUCTIONS ON A BLACKBOARD. PEOPLE OPERATED WITH THEIR OWN ETHICS AND RULES OF THE ROAD. >> WAS IT UNUSUAL TO HAVE UNPLANNED MEETINGS WITH UNNAMED PEOPLE? >> OH NO. THAT WAS DE RIGUEUR. ABSOLUTELY. THE PLACE WAS PELL-MELL. >> CAPUTO DESCRIBES DON JUNIOR AS A LOYAL SON WHO, LIKE HIS SIBLINGS, HAD GRADUALLY TAKEN A BIGGER ROLE IN HIS FATHER’S CAMPAIGN. >> NO QUESTION IN MY MIND THAT THE DYSFUNCTION LED THE KIDS TO GET MORE DEEPLY INVOLVED. >> WHICH COULD EXPLAIN DON JUNIOR’S ENTHUSIASTIC REACTION WHEN HE RECEIVED THAT E-MAIL OFFERING DIRT ON HILLARY CLINTON. HE WAS ALL IN, RESPONDING, “IF IT’S WHAT YOU SAY, I LOVE IT.” >> DO YOU THINK THIS IS EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION? >> NO, I DON’T. DONALD JUNIOR MADE A MISTAKE AND HE’D DO IT ENTIRELY DIFFERENTLY IF HE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY. >> YOU SAY HE MADE A MISTAKE. BUT DOES IT NOT SHOW THAT HE WAS OPEN TO THE IDEA OF COORDINATING WITH RUSSIA TO GET DIRT ON HILLARY CLINTON? >> I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THAT. I DO KNOW THAT IT SHOWS THAT — >> HE SAID, “I LOVE IT.” >> I GET THAT. I GET THAT. BUT I THINK IT SHOWS MORE THE NAIVETÉ OF HIS FIRST EXPERIENCE IN A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN. >> JOURNALIST AND BIOGRAPHER TIM O’BRIEN DOESN’T BUY THAT. A LONGTIME TRUMP CRITIC HE FINDS THE MEETING EASY TO EXPLAIN. HE SAYS IT PROVES DON JUNIOR DOESN’T FALL FAR FROM HIS FATHER’S TREE. >> HE’S AS INJUDICIOUS AND AS RECKLESS AS HIS FATHER. DONALD TRUMP SR. HAD A LONG CAREER IN WHICH HE BENT AND SOMETIMES BROKE BUSINESS RULES. AND I THINK YOU SEE A LOT OF DONALD TRUMP SR. REFLECTED IN THE CHILDREN, PARTICULARLY IN DONALD TRUMP JR. >> O’BRIEN SAYS THE CHAOS OF THE CAMPAIGN IS ONLY ONE FACTOR IN DON JUNIOR’S DECISION TO TAKE THAT MEETING, CHARACTER COUNTS, TOO. >> I THINK LIKE HIS FATHER HE WANTS TO WIN. AND I THINK ETHICS AND RIGHT AND WRONG CAN FREQUENTLY TAKE A BACKSEAT TO THAT QUESTION. >> DO YOU THINK HE WANTED TO BE THE OPPOSITION RESEARCH GUY, TO BE THE GUY WHO HAD THIS SILVER BULLET THAT WOULD KNOCK OUT HIS DAD’S OPPONENT? >> I SUSPECT KNOWING WHAT I KNOW ABOUT HIM IS HE RELISHED THAT ROLE. I THINK HE’S LIKE THAT AS A PERSON. YOU KNOW, HE’S AGGRESSIVE AND ENTHUSIASTIC WHEN IT COMES TO JOINING THE BATTLE. >> O’BRIEN SAYS THE MEETING HIGHLIGHTS ANOTHER CHARACTERISTIC OF THE TRUMPS. SOME OF THE ODD AND QUESTIONABLE RELATIONSHIPS THEY CULTIVATE. BRITISH PUBLICIST ROB GOLDSTONE WAS ONE OF THEM. IT WAS GOLDSTONE WHO FIRST APPROACHED DON JUNIOR ABOUT THE MEETING AND SAID THE DIRT ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON WAS BEING OFFERED BY ANOTHER TRUMP FAMILY FRIEND, RUSSIAN POP SINGER EMIN AGALAROV. EMIN’S FATHER, ARAS, IS A RUSSIAN OLIGARCH CLOSE TO THE KREMILIN. HERE HE IS AT DONALD TRUMP’S MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT IN MOSCOW WHERE TRUMP ALSO JOINED A CELEBRATION FOR ARAS’S BIRTHDAY. WHEN DON JUNIOR RESPONDED TO THE OFFER OF INFORMATION ON HILLARY CLINTON, THAT’S JUST WHAT THE RUSSIANS WANTED, ACCORDING TO SOME INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS WE SPOKE TO. >> IN OUR WORLD THAT’S CLEARLY A TRAP. YOU’RE CLEARLY SETTING SOMEONE UP SO THAT YOU CAN DETERMINE WHETHER THEY BITE. >> JOHN SIPHER IS A 28-YEAR CIA VETERAN, A FORMER STATION CHIEF WHO WAS ONCE POSTED TO MOSCOW. HE SAYS THE RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICES MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXPLOITING INFORMATION THEY ALREADY HAD ABOUT THE TRUMPS. >> THEY PROBABLY HAD A GOOD SENSE THAT DONALD TRUMP JUNIOR WAS SOMEONE THAT MIGHT BE WILLING TO PLAY BALL OR MIGHT BE WILLING TO SORT OF CROSS A LINE. >> AND THAT OFFER OF DIRT ON HILLARY CLINTON WAS TEMPTING BAIT. >> IF I SEND YOU SOMETHING THAT BLATANT AND YOU BITE THEN I HAVE A LOT OF INFORMATION ON WHAT I MIGHT BE ABLE TO USE NEXT TIME. I KNOW THAT IF YOU’RE WILLING TO STEP OVER THE LINE I CAN THEN PUSH A LITTLE FURTHER. >> IS THIS RUSSIAN LAWYER A DANGLE? WE’VE HEARD THAT TERM TOSSED AROUND A LOT. >> VERY LIKELY. NOW, PERSONALLY I THINK SHE’S PROBABLY TIED TO THE KREMLIN AND SHE PROBABLY WAS CO-OPTED AND WITTING OF WHAT SHE WAS DOING. BUT THIS IS LIKE HUMAN FISHING. THEY’RE PUTTING BAIT OUT THERE TO SEE IF YOU’RE WILLING TO SWALLOW IT. AND TRUMP CAMPAIGN TEAM SWALLOWED IT WHOLE. >> ADDING TO THE THEORY THAT THIS WAS AN INTELLIGENCE OPERATION, IS THE FACT THAT RINAT AKHMETSHIN, BELIEVED TO BE A FORMER SOVIET COUNTERINTELLIGENCE OFFICER, WAS ALSO IN THE MEETING. BUT IN HER FIRST-EVER TV INTERVIEW WITH NBC’S KEIR SIMMONS LAST WEEK, THE RUSSIAN LAWYER, NATALIA VESELNITSKAYA, SAID SHE HAD NO CONNECTION TO THE KREMLIN AND THAT THE MEETING WAS A WASTE OF TIME. >> Translator: IF I HAD TO USE ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE THE MEETLING, I’D SAY I FELT DISAPOINTED. >> DONALD JUNIOR SAID THE MEETING WAS A BUST, TOO. BUT IT MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN FOR RUSSIA’S PRESIDENT. >> WHAT POTENTIALLY DID PUTIN LEARN ABOUT DON JUNIOR IF HE DIDN’T GET ANYTHING FROM IT? >> HE LEARNED THAT MR. TRUMP IS WILLING TO COMPROMISE HIMSELF TO MAKE A CHOICE THAT PUTS HIM IN AN AWKWARD AND POTENTIALLY VULNERABLE STATE. >> THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF DENIES KNOWING ABOUT THE MEETING. BUT LAST JUNE, JUST DAYS AFTER THE E-MAIL EXCHANGE SETTING IT UP, HE ALLUDED TO BIG REVELATIONS TO COME. >> WE’RE GOING TO BE DISCUSSING ALL OF THE THINGS THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE WITH THE CLINTONS. I THINK YOU’RE GOING TO FIND IT VERY INFORMATIVE AND VERY, VERY INTERESTING. >> MANY FIND THE TIMING SUSPICIOUS. THREE DAYS AFTER THAT TEASE, WIKILEAKS ANNOUNCED IT HAD E-MAILS RELATED TO HILLARY CLINTON. E-MAILS THAT US INTELLIGENCE SAYS WERE AT THE HEART OF PUTIN’S EFFORT TO HELP TRUMP. >> WAS THIS A COINCIDENCE OF TIMING? >> ABSOLUTELY A COINCIDENCE IN TIMING. IT’S GOT — >> WHY ARE YOU SO CONFIDENT? >> BECAUSE I KNOW DONALD TRUMP. I KNOW HIM WELL. THE DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA. THERE WAS NO COLLUSION. DO YOU THINK THAT PLACE WAS ORGANIZED ENOUGH TO COLLUDE WITH THE LUNCH COUNTER ACROSS THE STREET? IT JUST WASN’T. IT JUST WASN’T. AND YET, THEY WON. >> CONGRATULATIONS, MR. PRESIDENT. >> HE MAY HAVE WON BUT CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES AND A SPECIAL COUNSEL WILL ULTIMATELY DECIDE IF CAPUTO IS RIGHT ABOUT