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Posted On : 8 Sep, 2017  Source : PTI  Place : Washington 
Met Russian lawyer to know about Clinton's 'fitness': Trump Jr
US President Donald Trump's eldest son denied colluding with Russia to hurt rival Hillary Clinton's campaign, saying he met a Russian lawyer ahead of the presidential elections to assess the Democratic nominee's "fitness, character or qualifications" for the highest office.

In a close-door grilling by the Senate Judiciary Committee that lasted nearly five hours, Donald Trump Jr detailed his account of the June 9 meeting at the Trump Tower in New York with the Russian lawyer.

The meeting had attracted close scrutiny from the Congress.

In his prepared remarks, Trump Jr said: "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." 

"Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration. I also note that at this time there was not the focus on Russian activities that there is today." 

In a statement issued after nearly five hours of interview with the Senate Committee, the 39-year-old said he answered every question posed by the committee.

He also said that the meeting provided "no meaningful information" to him.

However, Democratic lawmakers did not agree and said his statement raised more questions.

Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Trump Jr's statement "contains a notable omission".

"It no longer mentions that President Trump 'knew nothing of the meeting or these events,' raising questions about whether then-candidate Trump was in fact knowledgeable about the meeting in advance, and whether it formed the basis of his contemporaneous public promise of derogatory information about Secretary Clinton." 

Schiff said the statement also for the first time includes the argument that Trump Jr sought information on the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate. "This is far afield of the impression he originally conveyed about a meeting 'about adoptions'," he said.