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The President's son has released documents from 2016 that show him eager to accept what he thought would be Russian government dirt on Hillary Clinton during the election. Read them below in full, and the backstory behind them

Trump Jr.'s statement on the e-mails

The four pages of Trump Jr.'s e-mail chain

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The backstory

Who are these e-mails from? In June, 2016, Donald Trump Jr., was a key player in his father's campaign. He got a tip from publicist Rob Goldstone that the Russian government had damning information about his father's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Goldstone represented the Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, whose father, Aras Agalarov, is one of Russia's wealthiest men – and was the elder Mr. Trump's business partner when the Miss Universe pageant came to Moscow in 2013. The nature of their e-mail conversations between Mr. Goldstone and Donald Trump Jr. first became public this week in reports from The New York Times, which cited sources familiar with the e-mails' contents.

What do they say? The e-mails show the future president's son discussing plans to hear damaging information on Ms. Clinton that were described as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." Mr. Goldstone writes that the Agalarovs "helped along" this support. Donald Trump Jr. replied by saying he would "love it especially later in the summer," apparently referring to the information they were promised.

What is this meeting they're talking about? Donald Trump Jr. has acknowledged that, shortly after the e-mail exchange with Mr. Goldstone, he met with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, with the understanding that she would provide damaging information about Ms. Clinton. The Republican candidate's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, also attended the meeting. But in his statement Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr. says that, instead of the damning information promised, the Russian lawyer offered nothing of substance and the meeting ended after she began talking about an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human-rights abusers.

Why do these e-mails matter? Revelations about Russia's meddling in the 2016 election has raised difficult questions in Washington about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to win the election by dishonest means. There are currently four congressional investigations and one FBI-Justice Department probe examining these questions. Donald Trump Jr.'s e-mails are the first documentary evidence that a top Trump associate took a meeting to hear damaging information about Ms. Clinton with the understanding that it was connected to a Russian government effort to help Mr. Trump.

Why is Trump Jr. releasing them now? The New York Times had obtained the e-mails and was preparing to publish them before Donald Trump Jr. published them himself. In a statement Tuesday, Donald Trump's eldest son said he was posting the e-mails "in order to be totally transparent." Donald Trump Jr. has also offered to co-operate with the Senate intelligence committee investigating the Russian interference in the election.

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With reports from Associated Press, The New York Times and Globe staff