A Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr during the 2016 election campaign has said she had no compromising information on Hillary Clinton to offer – in contrast to what an email exchange released by the US president’s eldest son suggests.

Asked if she had compromising information on the Democrat candidate, Natalia Veselnitskaya said that was “not true”.

She added: “I never had compromising information and could not have had.”

She insisted she “offered to meet with Trump Jr” in a “private setting not connected to the fact that he is the son of the presidential candidate”.

Ms Veselnitskaya also claimed she is not sure Mr Trump had even won the Republican nomination to run for the White House at that time.

US President Donald Trump has said his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, is “a high-quality person” and has applauded “his transparency”.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders read a brief statement from the president in response to revelations that Mr Trump Jr agreed to hear damaging information on Hillary Clinton as part of the Russian government’s effort to help his father.

Mr Trump Jr posted his emails with publicist Rob Goldstone on Twitter on Tuesday.

The emails with Mr Goldstone show that Mr Trump Jr was told that the Russian government had information that could “incriminate” Mrs Clinton and her dealings with Russia.

Mr Trump Jr eagerly accepted help from what was described to him as a Russian government effort to aid his father’s campaign, according to the emails.

The email exchange represents the clearest sign to date that members of the president’s inner circle were willing to meet during the campaign with Russians who wanted Mr Trump to prevail.

US intelligence agencies have said the Russian government meddled in the election through hacking to aid Mr Trump.

The emails show Mr Trump Jr conversing with a music publicist who wanted him to meet with a lawyer from Moscow.

The publicist describes the lawyer as a “Russian government attorney” who has dirt on Mrs Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump”.

In one response, Mr Trump Jr said he would “love” to hear more.

Mr Trump Jr, who was deeply involved in his father’s presidential campaign, released the emails along with a statement describing the disclosure as an effort “to be totally transparent”.

Hours after the emails were released, the president rose to his son’s defence.

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“My son is a high quality person and I applaud his transparency,” Mr Trump said in the statement read to reporters by Mrs Huckabee Sanders. She referred all questions about the emails to outside lawyers hired by the president’s son.

The messages were the latest disclosure to roil the ongoing investigation into potential co-ordination between Mr Trump’s campaign and Russia, which US intelligence agencies have said sought to influence the outcome of the election in Mr Trump’s favour.

As congressional committees and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, investigate, the emails will almost certainly be reviewed for any signs of potential campaign collusion with the Kremlin, which the White House has repeatedly denied.

Mueller spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment on the emails, citing the ongoing investigation.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

US vice president Mike Pence was not aware of the meeting, his spokesman Marc Lotter said in a statement that stressed the meeting took place before he was part of the campaign.

The actions described in Mr Trump Jr’s emails brought swift and firm reaction from Democrats, including a key member of the Senate intelligence committee.

“These emails show there is no longer a question of whether this campaign sought to collude with a hostile foreign power to subvert America’s democracy,” said senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Yet other senators urged caution. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who sits on the intelligence committee, said the emails “certainly raise questions” but added “we’re seeing only part of the picture”. She called on the committee to interview Mr Trump Jr and those involved in the meeting.

In the emails, Mr Goldstone wrote to Mr Trump Jr that the information “would be very useful to your father”.

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Mr Goldstone was working to connect Mr Trump Jr to Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who later met with Mr Trump Jr in New York at Trump Tower. Ms Veselnitskaya has denied that she ever worked for the Russian government.

“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Mr Trump Jr replied to Mr Goldstone in one of a series of email exchanges the younger Trump posted to Twitter.

The emails, dated early June, show Mr Goldstone telling Mr Trump Jr that singer Emin Agalarov and his father, Moscow-based developer Aras Agalarov, had “helped along” the Russian government’s support for Mr Trump.

The elder Agalarov was involved with Mr Trump in hosting the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. The two men also had preliminary discussions about building a Trump Tower in Moscow that fell through. Mr Trump also appeared in a music video with the younger Agalarov.

In his email, Mr Goldstone said that the “Crown prosecutor of Russia” offered to provide the information on Mrs Clinton to the Trump campaign in a meeting with Aras Agalarov.

There is no such royal title in the Russian Federation, but Mr Goldstone – who is British – may have been referring to the title given to state prosecutors in the United Kingdom.

In Russia, the top justice official is prosecutor general Yury Chaika, the equivalent of the attorney general in the United States. Mr Chaika is a long-time confidant of Vladimir Putin who was directly appointed by the Russian president.

Representatives for the Agalarovs did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Attempts to reach Mr Chaika at his office on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

In one of the emails, Mr Goldstone said he could send the information about Mrs Clinton to Mr Trump Jr’s father first directly “via Rhona”, an apparent reference to the elder Trump’s long-time assistant, Rhona Graff, from his days at the helm of the Trump Organisation.

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In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Mr Goldstone described the information as purported evidence of illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic National Committee.

The email release followed days of evolving accounts from Mr Trump Jr about the nature of the meeting and its purpose. The president’s son posted the emails only after they were obtained by The New York Times.

On Saturday, Mr Trump Jr described the encounter as being a “short introductory meeting” focused on the disbanded programme that had allowed American adoptions of Russian children.

Moscow ended the adoptions in response to Magnitsky Act sanctions created in response to alleged human rights violations in Russia.

A day later, Mr Trump Jr changed his account, acknowledging that he was told beforehand that Ms Veselnitskaya might have information “helpful” to the Trump campaign, and was told by her during the meeting that she had something about Mrs Clinton.

In his third description of what occurred, on Tuesday, Mr Trump Jr said he had believed the information he would hear about Mrs Clinton would be political opposition research.

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He said that he first wanted to speak by phone, but that when that did not work out, he was told that the lawyer would be in New York “and I decided to take the meeting”.

“The woman, as she has said publicly, was not a government official,” Mr Trump Jr said in the statement.

“And, as we have said, she had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act.”

The Trump Organisation has confirmed the authenticity of Mr Trump Jr’s posts on Twitter releasing the email chain.

US President Donald Trump’s eldest son has released an email chain that shows him discussing plans to hear damaging information on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump”.

The emails are the first documentary evidence of a top Trump associate knowingly engaging with what they believed to be a Russian government effort to help Mr Trump in the 2016 election.

In one of the emails to Donald Trump Jr, the music publicist seeking to set up a meeting with a lawyer from Russia describes her as a “Russian government attorney”.

Mr Trump Jr was deeply involved in his father’s presidential campaign.

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He posted the emails on Twitter on Tuesday and issued a statement describing it as an effort “to be totally transparent”.

The emails with publicist Rob Goldstone show Mr Trump Jr was told the Russian government had information that could “incriminate” Mrs Clinton and her dealings with Russia.

Mr Goldstone wrote to Mr Trump Jr the information “would be very useful to your father”.

He was working to connect Mr Trump Jr to Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who later met with Mr Trump Jr in New York at Trump Tower.

Ms Veselnitskaya has denied that she ever worked for the Russian government.

“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Mr Trump Jr replied to Mr Goldstone in one of a series of email exchanges the younger Trump posted to Twitter.

The emails are dated early June.

The email release followed days of evolving accounts from Mr Trump Jr about the nature of the meeting and its purpose.

The president’s son posted the emails only after they were obtained by The New York Times.

On Saturday, Mr Trump Jr described the encounter as being a “short introductory meeting” focused on the disbanded programme that had allowed American adoptions of Russian children.

Moscow ended the adoptions in response to Magnitsky Act sanctions created in response to alleged human rights violations in Russia.

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A day later, Mr Trump Jr changed his account, acknowledging that he was told beforehand that Ms Veselnitskaya might have information “helpful” to the Trump campaign, and was told by her during the meeting that she had something about Mrs Clinton.

In his third description of what occurred, on Tuesday, he said he had believed the information he would hear about Mrs Clinton would be political opposition research.

He said that he first wanted to speak by phone, but that when that did not work out, he was told that the lawyer would be in New York “and I decided to take the meeting”.

“The woman, as she has said publicly, was not a government official,” Mr Trump Jr said in the statement on Tuesday.

“And, as we have said, she had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act.”