Donald Trump Jr. has hired a lawyer to represent him in Russia-related investigations, his office and the lawyer said on Monday, as Republicans voiced concern about a meeting between the U.S. president's son and a Russian.
Trump Jr. hired New York lawyer Alan Futerfas, who specializes in criminal defense and whose clients have included reputed organized crime figures, computer hackers and white-collar criminals.
Futerfas would not say when he was retained or whether he played any part in the statements Trump Jr. made over the weekend about his June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, during the presidential election campaign.
|FILE PHOTO: Donald Trump Jr. (C) hugs his father, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, as Donald Jr's wife Vanessa (L) walks past after Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File photo
Trump Jr. said he agreed to meet Veselnitskaya, described by the New York Times as having links to the Kremlin, after being promised damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Trump's then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, also attended, the Times said. It called the encounter the first confirmed private meeting of members of Donald Trump's inner circle with a Russian national during the campaign.
Allegations of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia have cast a shadow over the Republican president's first months in office and sparked investigations by congressional committees and a federal special counsel, Robert Mueller, into whether Russia interfered in the election and colluded with the Trump campaign.
Moscow denies interfering, and Trump, who became president on Jan. 20, says there was no collusion.
Futerfas told Reuters: “I look forward to assisting Donald Jr. and, quite frankly, there is nothing to all of the media buzz about the June 9th, 2016 meeting. That will be proven to be the case.”
A Republican member of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, Susan Collins, called on Trump Jr. to testify before the panel, which is looking into accusations of Russian meddling in the election.
"Our intelligence committee needs to interview him and others who attended the meeting," Senator Susan Collins told reporters at the U.S. Capitol.
Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the intelligence panel, said it "absolutely" wants to speak to Trump Jr. about the meeting. Warner said he and the Republican committee chairman, Richard Burr, will decide later whether to ask Trump Jr. to testify in public or in a classified setting.