The Latest: Lavrov surprised by Trump Jr. controversy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the controversy surrounding a meeting last summer between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton (all times local):

8:15 a.m.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says he is surprised that Donald Trump Jr. is facing controversy for meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Speaking at a news conference in Brussels, Lavrov said didn't he understand why the meeting, which Trump Jr. has acknowledged, was becoming such a large issue. Lavrov asked, "What is the problem here?"

President Donald Trump's eldest son revealed Tuesday that he was eager to hear damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government, disclosing a series of emails that showed him conversing with a music publicist who wanted him to meet with a "Russian government attorney" who supposedly had dirt on Clinton.

The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya denies having any compromising information about Clinton.

Lavrov referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin's earlier comments that the current controversy was the result of someone "trying to contest the election results."

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7:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump's lawyer is defending the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., saying he did not violate any laws in his meeting with a Russian lawyer.

Attorney Jay Sekulow says that the president was not aware of Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting and didn't find out about his son's email exchange until "very recently."

Sekulow says the president is not being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The attorney is defending Trump, his son and their associates in the aftermath of the revelation of Trump Jr.'s meeting — along with former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner — to discuss allegedly compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

Sekulow spoke on ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today."

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7:20 a.m.

The Kremlin has denied reaching out to a Moscow-based property developer and his son who arranged a meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. to discuss allegedly compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

The emails published by Trump Jr. show publicist Rob Goldstone telling Trump that singer Emin Agalarov and his father, developer Aras Agalarov, had "helped along" the Russian government's support for Trump. In his email, Goldstone said that the "Crown prosecutor of Russia" offered to provide the information on Clinton to the Trump campaign in a meeting with Aras Agalarov.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, insisted that the Kremlin has not spoken to Agalarov and has no ties to the Russian lawyer who was at the meeting.

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7 a.m.

President Donald Trump is defending son Donald Trump Jr. in regards to the Russia investigation, writing on Twitter that his son was "open, transparent and innocent."

The president is again calling the investigation the "greatest Witch Hunt in political history."

Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday morning in the aftermath of his son's defense of a meeting he had last June with a Russian lawyer. According to emails released by Trump Jr., he appeared eager to accept information from the Russian government that would have damaged Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign.

The incident has raised questions of whether members of Trump's campaign coordinated with Russia to hurt Clinton and help Trump.

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2:45 a.m.

Donald Trump's eldest son has revealed he was eager to hear damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government, disclosing a series of emails that marked the clearest sign to date that Trump's campaign was willing to consider election help from a longtime U.S. adversary.

The email exchange posted to Twitter Tuesday by Donald Trump Jr. showed him conversing with a music publicist who wanted him to meet with a "Russian government attorney" who supposedly had dirt on Clinton as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." The messages reveal that Trump Jr. was told the Russian government had information that could "incriminate" Clinton and her dealings with Russia.

"I love it," Trump Jr. said in one email response.

Jul. 12, 2017 8:18 AM EDT

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