Five takeaways from the Trump Tower transcripts

Thousands of pages of congressional testimony shed light on 2016 Trump Tower meeting

Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York City on Jan. 18 2017

The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has backed USA intelligence agencies' 2017 finding that Russian Federation worked to boost Donald Trump's chances of winning the 2016 presidential election - and to hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Meanwhile, the Senate intelligence committee said it stands behind a 2017 assessment by US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation intervened in the election to hurt Clinton and help Trump.

The 2,500 pages of documents the Senate Judiciary Committee released Wednesday show a wide-ranging investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Trump Tower meeting, with lengthy interviews, text messages and other emails. But if that possibility fazed Trump Jr., it didn't show in the transcripts.

"In the call at the end, [I said] that I believed it was a bad idea and that we shouldn't do it", Goldstone said.

As The Washington Post points out, it has become increasingly hard to believe that Kushner ― or anyone else in Trump Sr.'s inner circle ― would have attended the meeting without the assumption that negative information about Clinton would be provided.

Documents suggest the Kremlin used the NRA to offer the campaign a back channel to Moscow-including a potential meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin-and might have secretly funded Trump's campaign, the committee said.

But Trump Jr. and other key figures involved in the meeting downplayed the gathering when questioned by Senate investigators. "The meeting was a complete waste of time and Don was never told Ms. Veselnitskaya's name prior to the meeting".

Several significant questions remain unanswered about this meeting and the numerous other contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian associates.

It is not final report of Senate Intelligence Committee on Russian electoral interference, but its conclusions are clear.

Though the witnesses were not under oath, they were nonetheless required to tell Congress the truth.

The meeting was set up by Goldstone, who offered in a June 3, 2016, email to provide Trump Jr. material harmful to Clinton that Russia's top prosecutor had given to Aras Agalarov and "would be very useful to your father".

In the email exchange, Veselnitskaya was identified as a "Russian government attorney". But the panel released her written responses to a letter that Grassley sent her.

Kushner and Manafort declined to be interviewed by the committee, instead issuing statements that were also made public Wednesday.

We've known Manafort took notes during the meeting, and now we know what they said. He has since been indicted as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation on charges related to money laundering, tax fraud, and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. President Trump's supporters contended the newly released documents were exculpatory; his detractors called them further evidence of campaign cooperation with Russian Federation.

Last July, when the New York Times published a report about the meeting, a statement was crafted aboard Air Force One as the president returned from Germany. After small talk about the view and a recent win in the primaries, the younger Trump got down to business, Akhmetshin said.

That statement said the meeting primarily concerned a Russian adoption program, though Trump Jr. later released the emails showing he agreed to the sit-down after he was promised information on Clinton. One of suspicions is if he came from his parent a call from a secret number he received after speaking with Emin Agalarov, Russian musical star linked to lawyer and who promoted meeting. In short, I wish I had not spent five hours of my day going through them, but alas, here we are. And I gave the reason for that being that I'm a music publicist. He said he had no recollection of who the call with the blocked number was with, and that he had no recollection of the second call with Agalarov. He began representing Agalarov in 2012 and was a catalyst for helping the Agalarovs bring the Miss Universe contest, which Donald Trump owned, to Moscow in 2013.

Trump Jr. responded, "if it's what you say I love it".

On June 14, just days after the meeting, Goldstone wrote to Emin Agalarov and Ike Kaveladze, a California businessman who was born in Russian Federation. They worked out who should sit where, and I sat next to Mr. Kushner.

The lawyers are "concerned because it links Don officials from Russian Federation - which he has always denied meeting", Goldstone wrote in an email to Emin Agalarov.

"At the time of the call, did you believe setting up this meeting was a good idea?"

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