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June 2016 campaign speech suggests Trump may have known about Trump Jr.’s Russia meeting

Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks following primary elections on June 7, 2016 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. Trump promised during the speech that he would soon be sharing damaging information about then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. (John Moore/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump gave a campaign speech promising "major" news on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton just four days after his son, Donald Trump Jr., began exchanging emails with publicist Rob Goldstone about setting up a meeting to get damaging information on Clinton from the Kremlin.

"I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week, and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons,” Trump said on June 7, 2016. “I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. I wonder if the press will want to attend. Who knows?"

"Hillary Clinton turned the state department into a private hedge fund," Trump continued. "The Russians, the Saudis, the Chinese all gave money to Bill and Hillary and got favorable treatment in return."

"The Clintons have turned the politics of personal enrichment into an art form for themselves," Trump said minutes before teasing the upcoming speech. He then accused Clinton of selling government access and contracts during her tenure as secretary of state.

"They've made hundreds of millions of dollars selling access, selling favors, selling government contracts — and I mean hundreds of millions of dollars," he told the audience.

Trump made the claims the night of the final GOP primary elections after Trump had officially clinched the Republican nomination and just hours after Trump Jr. scheduled the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who is well connected to the Russian government, email records show.

In an email to Trump Jr., Goldstone promised that a source — presumably Veselnitskaya — could deliver highly sensitive, very damaging information on Clinton. Trump Jr. at first denied that any meeting took place, but later said the meeting was about changing international adoption processes.

Some observers have speculated that the Trump family was originally hoping Trump Jr.'s meeting would reveal incriminating details about the Uranium One scandal, which alleged Clinton took donations for the Clinton Foundation in exchange for Clinton using her position to push approval for the sale of a Canadian atomic energy company to Russia. The United States' approval of the sale was necessary because some of the company's uranium came from the U.S.

Though Trump never gave a speech the following week delivering any damaging information on Clinton, he spoke on June 22, 2016, and referred to the possible existence of a "blackmail file."

"While we may not know what is in those deleted emails, our enemies probably do,” Trump told the audience.

"So they probably now have a blackmail file over someone who wants to be president of the United States," he added. "This fact alone disqualifies her from the presidency."

One last thing…
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