Donald Trump Jr.’s appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity” scored strong ratings for the cable news network on Tuesday night.
2.9 million viewers tuned in to watch Trump Jr. discuss his meeting with a Russian lawyer last year, with 664,000 of those falling in the key adults 25-54 demographic, making it the most-watched cable news show of the night in total viewers. “Hannity” also topped the 10 p.m. timeslot in both measures, beating out both MSNBC’s “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (2.34 million, 576,000) and CNN’s “CNN Tonight” (1.13 million, 369,000). Additionally, the program was up 20% in total viewers and up 41% in the 25-54 demographic versus the same time last year.
On Tuesday, Trump Jr. tweeted out a series of emails from Trump associate Rob Goldstone setting up a meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who claimed to have information that would be damaging to then-Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton that was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” per the emails. Trump Jr. replied that “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” He released the emails shortly before the New York Times was set to publish a story on their contents.
In a statement, Trump Jr. said that “in order to be totally transparent, I am releasing the entire email chain of my emails with Rob Goldstone about the meeting on June 9, 2016. To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue.” Trump Jr. said that Veselnitskaya did not reveal any substantive information, but instead wanted to use the meeting to discuss a discontinued adoption program. However, he told Hannity that he “probably would have done things a little differently” regarding the meeting.
President Trump tweeted support for his son following the interview saying, “”My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!”
The President has repeatedly characterized the Russia investigation as a witch hunt, as members of Congress investigate Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 Presidential election and whether or not any members of Trump’s team directly connected with Russian operatives.