Donald Trump’s campaign committee paid $50,000 to the firm of a lawyer representing Donald Trump Jr 13 days before emails relating to alleged links to Russia were publicly released.
A campaign finance report filed to the Federal Election Commission on Saturday said the committee made the payment to Alan Futerfas’s law firm on 27 June.
The revelation of the payment suggests that although Trump did not know about his son’s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016 until recently, his campaign committee knew before the president did.
Futerfas, a veteran New York criminal defence attorney best known for defending clients involved with mafia crime families, is Donald Trump Jr’s attorney in the Russia investigations.
Trump Jr was forced to release damning emails revealing he eagerly embraced what he was told was a Russian government attempt to damage Hillary Clinton’s election campaign.
The emails show music promoter Rob Goldstone telling the future US president’s son that “the crown prosecutor of Russia” had 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”.
Trump has described the political storm over his son’s meeting with Veselnitskaya as “the greatest witch-hunt in political history” and “sad!”
Trump said 39-year-old Donald Jr is “a good boy”.
“He’s a good kid. And he had a meeting, nothing happened with the meeting. It was a short meeting, as he told me – because I only heard about it two or three days ago.”
The Trump campaign committee’s finance filing also shows it paid $89,000 to the Trump Corporation, which is led by Donald Trump Jr and his brother Eric, for “legal consulting”.
It was announced on Saturday that Trump had hired Washington attorney Ty Cobb to serve as his special counsel to handle the White House’s response to the Russia investigations.
The move seemingly reflects the president’s growing acceptance that the investigations will linger over his tenure for months or even years.