Long his father’s attack dog, Trump Jr. now is eye of storm

FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 file photo, Donald Trump Jr. campaigns for his father Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Gilbert, Ariz. Donald Trump’s eldest son, son-in-law and then-campaign chairman met with a Russian lawyer shortly after Trump won the Republican nomination, in what appears to be the earliest known private meeting between key aides to the president and a Russian. Representatives of Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner confirmed the June 2016 meeting to The Associated Press after The New York Times reported Saturday, July 8, 2017 on the gathering of the men and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump Jr. has long been his father’s id, the brawler who has helped fuel the president’s pugilistic instincts and stood firm as one of his fiercest defenders.

Now the president’s eldest son is at the center of the firestorm over Russian connections swirling around his father’s administration and trying to fight off charges that he was open to colluding with Moscow to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Offered Russian help in defeating Hillary Clinton last year, Don Jr. jumped at the offer: “I love it,” he emailed.

That was in an email chain the younger Trump released Tuesday in which an associate arranging a June 2016 meeting between the president’s son and a Kremlin-linked lawyer promised damaging information about Clinton.

Trump Jr. had denied any wrongdoing.

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