Wednesday 13 December 2017

Trump defends son as 'innocent' over Russia link

Trump defends eldest son, says he is the victim of "the greatest witch hunt in political history"

Donald Trump Jr pictured at the White House with his wife Vanessa and their daughter Kai. Photo: Getty Images
Donald Trump Jr pictured at the White House with his wife Vanessa and their daughter Kai. Photo: Getty Images

Nick Allen

Donald Trump defended his eldest son yesterday, declaring him "innocent" and a victim of the "greatest witch hunt in political history" as he sought to counter the gravest crisis to face his administration so far.

The White House was plunged into what one ally called a "category five hurricane" after Mr Trump Jr was forced to disclose emails. The messages showed he had enthusiastically agreed to meet with a "Russian government lawyer" during last year's election campaign in a bid to obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Photo: AP
Lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Photo: AP

Mr Trump, who had remained largely silent about the controversy over the last few days, praised his son for a television appearance on Fox News in which he said the meeting had been "a nothing".

The president wrote on Twitter: "My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!"

He also endorsed a comment by a Fox News commentator who said: "I believe Don junior is the victim here." Mr Trump also suggested Democrats had "wilfully used Moscow disinformation" to influence the election against him.

It marked an aggressive change of strategy by Mr Trump as the White House sought to protect his son from allegations by Democrats that he may have broken election campaign laws by dealing with a US adversary.