Donald Trump Jr., oldest son of the president of the United States, is being questioned by the Senate in a closed hearing regarding Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump Jr. is expected to testify for several hours and answer questions regarding his June 2016 meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya.

US President Donald Trump with son, Donald Trump Jr.

US President Donald Trump with son, Donald Trump Jr. Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Donald Trump Jr., oldest son of the president of the United States, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee today (Thursday) to testify on allegations of Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election. Trump Jr. is expected to face several hours of questioning.

The Associated Press reported that sources have said that the president’s son began his testimony with an opening statement that lasted between 15 minutes and 20 minutes. His statement has not yet been approved for publication and remains behind closed doors.

Trump Jr.’s private testimony is expected to deal primarily with the meeting he held in June of 2016 with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower. Veselnitskaya was allegedly sent by the Kremlin to meet the son of then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The New York Times reported that Trump Jr. claimed during the hearing that his meeting with the Russian lawyer had yielded no results. In addition, Trump told the committee that he never contacted the Russians in order to influence the election results. 

E-mails published in recent months indicated that Trump Jr. was aware that the meeting was prompted by the Russian government’s desire to help his father during the presidential election and to give his election campaign information that could harm his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

According to the Times, Trump Jr. testified that he asked Veselnitskaya for information about Clinton because he was concerned about her ‘fitness’ to be president: “To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out,” Trump Jr. said.

The Judiciary Committee had originally called on Trump Jr. to testify in a public hearing in July, but he and President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort managed to make a deal with the committee to ensure a private hearing.