The Tuesday news cycle exploded in Washington, D.C., as Donald Trump Jr. released four pages of emails linking himself and Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump Jr.’s tweets containing his emails were the end result of a tale that has been building for a few days. On Saturday, the New York Times ran a story revealing the meeting between top-level Trump campaign officials and a lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. The story built over the weekend, and on Monday, Donald Trump Jr. lawyered up, tapping an elite New York attorney who specializes in white collar crime and has represented four of the five New York mafia families. The New York Times contacted Trump Jr. on Tuesday morning, saying that they had copies of the e-mails and asking him for a comment. However, before the Times could publish their piece, Trump Jr. put the emails up on Twitter.
There was a deafening silence from the White House after the routine early morning tweets from the president. Finally, at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared before the press corps for an off camera briefing. She opened by reading the president’s statement on Trump Jr.’s tweets, which read, “My son is a high quality-person, and I applaud his transparency.” Following the statement, Sanders referred all questions about Donald Trump Jr.’s emails to the elder son’s attorney. She stated that the president was “aware of the situation and briefed as it developed.”
In a statement, Vice President Mike Pence’s office stated, “The vice president was not aware of the meeting. He is not focused on stories about the campaign, particularly stories about the time before he joined the ticket.”