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Earlier today Donald Trump Jr. released screenshots of an email chain between himself and an intermediary who promised to connect him with a Russian attorney. Trump Jr. was told the attorney could provide information that would benefit the Trump campaign.
In the email, the intermediary writes, "This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."
Trump Jr. replied, "If it's what you say, I love it."
Jim Rappaport, former chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party.
On his reaction to the release of Donald Trump Jr.’s email chain about the meeting
“I’m horrified by that email chain. One is that it indicates that the Russian government supported Trump’s candidacy and wanted to hurt Hillary Clinton, so this is a foreign power trying to inject itself in our presidential election."
"But, I’m also horrified because this attorney that they met with is somebody who basically spent a good portion of her life trying to fight against human rights defenders and human rights in general. She’s been the chief person to try to overturn and repeal the Magnitsky law, which is something that I did here in the House, which basically holds Russian human rights violations to account.”
On whether he think the emails are evidence of collusion
“I think this is collusion. I don’t know how else you define collusion. The question whether this is criminal... That is something that is going to have to be determine by someone who knows a lot more than I do. This idea that somehow they’ve never dealt with the Russians with regards to Hillary Clinton or the campaign has just been proven false."
"I don’t know what else people need to see to prove that there was at least an attempt at collusion here. My guess is this is not the only meeting that the Trump campaign and people close to the Russian government had.”
On if seeking damaging information on an opponent is a normal part of running a campaign
“There is something very wrong with that and let me give you one example. When Al Gore and George Bush were running for president against each other and Al Gore’s campaign received a briefing book for the debate that was allegedly George Bush’s briefing book, the Gore campaign called the FBI. They did the right thing. So this is not what normally happens. Past campaigns have actually reported this.”
“But this is even different than that. This is a foreign government. This is Russia, who we actually know has been meddling in our election. And the idea that you would take a meeting like that?”
On whether the Democratic party is focused too much on the Russian investigation
“With all due respect, this is not the Democratic party. Bob Mueller is not the Democratic party. He was appointed by the Trump administration's justice department to do an investigation. The committees that are doing investigations in the House and Senate are not led by Democrats, they are led by Republicans. There is very much bipartisan concern about what is going on here. This is not Democrats making this an issue. This is a legitimate issue.”
This segment aired on July 11, 2017.
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