July 12 (UPI) -- Donald Trump Jr. said he would be willing to testify about his meeting with a Russian lawyer who he was told had damaging documents on Hillary Clinton during the U.S. presidential campaign.
Trump Jr. made the comment during a Fox News appearance Tuesday night. After host Sean Hannity said Trump Jr. had "nothing to hide," the host asked him whether "you'll testify under oath, all of that?"
"All of it," Trump Jr. replied.
Trump Jr. on Tuesday released an email chain indicating he agreed to meet someone he thought was a "Russian government attorney" who had documents that would "incriminate" Clinton in June 2016.
The disclosure about Trump Jr.'s meeting comes as former FBI Director Robert Mueller -- as a special counsel -- investigates allegations of collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia in an effort to defeat rival candidate Clinton.
In the interview discussing the meeting Trump Jr. had with the person identified as a Russian official, Trump Jr. said he "probably would have done things a little differently" with the benefit of hindsight.
"This [was] pre-Russia fever. This [was] pre-Russia mania," Trump Jr. told Hannity. "I don't think my sirens went [off] or my antenna went up at this time because it wasn't the issue that it's been made out to be over the last nine months, ten months."
Trump Jr. on Sunday confirmed the meeting after The New York Times reported on Saturday that he met with Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on June 9, 2016, in New York City's Trump Tower. Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager at the time, and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, also attended the meeting.
"For me this was opposition research," Trump Jr. added during the interview. "They had something, you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I'd been hearing about ... so I think I wanted to hear it out. But really it went nowhere and it was apparent that wasn't what the meeting was about."
The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday published a report citing anonymous sources within the U.S. intelligence community who said spy agencies first overheard Russian officials discussing advisers close to Trump in the spring of 2015, months before he announced his candidacy. In some of those instances, Russian government officials were overheard talking about meetings outside the United States with Trump business associates or advisers, though the U.S. officials said the conversations were vague and it was not clear whether the meetings were related to Trump business ventures or his political aspirations.
The intelligence was gathered as part of routine espionage by U.S. intelligence agencies that monitor phone calls and emails of Russian officials. Trump was not a target of those intelligence-gathering efforts, the officials said.
The interest in Trump by Russian officials was not particularly noteworthy to U.S intelligence officials at the time. U.S. businessmen are sometimes mentioned by Russian officials and Trump's celebrity and sprawling global business ventures could have made him a plausible topic of conversation for the Russians even without considering Trump's budding political ambitions, which were unclear at the time.
Now, in the context of multiple congressional investigations and a special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian agents seeking to boost his candidacy, the 2015 conversations have been cast in a new light, officials said.
In the midst of the firestorm renewed by Trump Jr.'s email revelation, the president defended his son early Wednesday.
"My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!" Trump tweeted.
The Times said Trump Jr. posted the email chain after the newspaper reached out for a comment and informed him the newspaper would publish the content of the emails.