Donald Trump Jr.

Updated at 5:55 p.m. ET

Donald Trump Jr. told congressional investigators on Thursday that his June 2016 meeting with a Russian contingent after an offer of dirt on Hillary Clinton provided no useful information and was ultimately a waste of time.

In fact after it was over, Trump Jr. said, "I gave it no further thought."

The meeting, which took place at Trump Tower in New York City, has emerged as an important point of the investigations into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia's interference in last year's election.

Updated at 11:55 a.m. ET

A senior FBI official said Wednesday the nation is "under relentless assault" from foreign adversaries, as the Senate Judiciary Committee continued its probe into Russia's interference with last year's presidential election.

Bill Priestap, assistant director of counterintelligence at the FBI, painted a bleak picture of efforts — both overt and covert — by foreign government agents inside the U.S. "Our economy, our national security and our way of life are being actively threatened by state actors and their proxies," he said.

The biggest story of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday might be about the people who aren't there.

The chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wanted Donald Trump Jr., the president's oldest son, and Paul Manafort, the president's onetime campaign chairman, to appear and testify — either voluntarily or involuntarily, if necessary, under subpoena.

Those witnesses said they agreed — but they arranged with the committee to do so in private as opposed to under the TV lights.

President Trump's son and former campaign chairman are both expected to meet with the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, but in a move that's irritated some Democrats, they will reportedly not be put under oath to answer the panel's questions.

Updated at 2:00 p.m. ET

"I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government," President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said in a statement prior to his closed-door meeting Monday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Speaking to reporters at the White House after the appearance, he said that documents and records that he provided the committee "show that all of my actions are proper, and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign."

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, told lawmakers in a statement on Monday that he "did not collude... with any foreign government."

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, the president's eldest son and his former campaign chairman, are set to testify publicly next week before a committee probing Russia's attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

In a statement issued by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Trump Jr. and Manafort are listed as witnesses scheduled to appear on Wednesday, July 26.

The two men are expected to be questioned about allegations of collusion with Russia to influence the election.

Job growth seems to be strong in one of Washington's specialized professions: defense attorneys for the White House. Investigations by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller and several congressional committees are driving the demand.

One question is this: Who is paying for all those lawyers?

Those who have recently lawyered up include President Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Vice President Pence.

David Goldman / AP Photo/File

Today on “Political Rewind,” if money talks, what do Casey Cagle's campaign contributions have to say? So far, a fair amount of his donations have come from lobbyists and political action groups. What will voters make of it?

The political bomb that went off recently when Donald Trump Jr. revealed he met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer in hopes of getting damaging information about Hillary Clinton has raised new questions about the Trump family's connections to Russia.

And investigators are looking for clues in what might seem like an unlikely place: the glitzy November 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

In November 2013, Donald Trump took the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow, bringing his trademark glitz and glamour to a country that had never hosted a major beauty contest.

Trump later boasted that he met a lot of important people at the pageant. They included the billionaire real estate tycoon Aras Agalarov, who is now figuring prominently in the investigations into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Here is a look back at how the Miss Universe contest came together and what happened there.

Last week sparked a deluge of speculation about Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 encounter with a Russian lawyer, and what criminal charges — if any — might ensue.

But for a substantive answer, NPR asked a former federal prosecutor. Randall Eliason worked public corruption and government fraud cases; now he teaches law and writes the blog Sidebars, "a reflection on white collar crime and federal criminal law."

President Trump has hired a former federal prosecutor to assist in how the White House handles its response to the expanding Russia probes.

Ty Cobb, whose legal expertise lies in white-collar crime and congressional investigations, will be "in charge of overseeing the White House legal and media response" to the investigations, according to Bloomberg News.

Updated at 11:23 a.m. ET

When Donald Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last June at Trump Tower to gather information on Hillary Clinton for his father's presidential campaign, it's now clear there was at least one more Russian in the room. He has been identified in published reports as a Russian-American lobbyist named Rinat Akhmetshin.

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

President Trump said he would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House "at the right time" when asked by a reporter on Air Force One Wednesday night.

"I don't think this is the right time, but the answer is yes I would," he said, according to a pool report released on Thursday. "Look, it's very easy for me to say absolutely, I won't. That's the easy thing for me to do, but that's the stupid thing to do."

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

President Trump once again defended his son Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer in the midst of last year's presidential campaign, saying that his eldest son is a "wonderful young man" and that the meeting was one "most people in politics would have taken."

Trump's remarks came during a news conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron while Trump is visiting the longtime U.S. ally as part of France's Bastille Day celebration.

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, tells NPR that he's sending a letter to Donald Trump Jr., saying that he wants the president's eldest son to testify in an open session of the committee and will subpoena him if necessary.

Grassley first spoke with CNN.

It's the first formal invitation for Trump Jr. to appear before congressional investigators, who want to learn more about his June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

President Trump is continuing to defend his eldest son's controversial meeting with a Russian lawyer where he hoped to get damaging information on Hillary Clinton as part of an effort by the Russian government to help Trump's campaign.

"I think many people would have held that meeting," Trump told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Richard Drew / AP

Today on “Political Rewind,” who needs journalists? Donald Trump Jr. scoops everyone by releasing emails proving he met with a Russian attorney last summer during the presidential campaign.

Donald Trump Jr.'s emails about Russian help for his father's campaign revealed a great deal about the imbroglio over the meddling in the 2016 election — but they also raised as many questions as they answered.

Trump Jr.'s bid for "transparency" laid out the whos, wheres, whats and hows, but left out some critical details.

Now that Donald Trump Jr.'s emails have produced the kind of solid evidence the Russia connection story had been lacking, what had been mostly speculative reporting has instead become the first draft of history.

Expect that history to be much debated. All accounts of political skulduggery with foreign actors tend to be "tangled and murky," as one foreign policy historian has written.

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Updated at 11:35 p.m. ET

Donald Trump Jr. acknowledged in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday that "in retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently" when meeting last year with a Kremlin-linked attorney in hopes of gaining damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

When Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer last June, did he break any U.S. laws?

Updated at 5:41 p.m. ET

Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday tweeted an email exchange that seemed to show the president's son entertained an offer of Russian government help for his father to be elected president in 2016.

"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," said the text that Trump Jr. posted on Twitter.

JEFF VINNICK / Getty Images

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted images of emails regarding his 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer on Tuesday. An intermediary said he could connect Trump Jr. with people who had information "that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton]... and would be very useful to your father." Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting, which former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner also attended in June 2016.

Last June's meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer with Kremlin connections was arranged by a colorful British-born music promoter with ties to the son of a Azerbaijan-born billionaire.

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