Donald Trump Jr was an unwavering champion of his father throughout the 2016 campaign.
During that time he had emphatically denied meeting any Russian officials. We now know that wasn’t true.
Just before the New York Times was about to publish the email chain, in a bombshell move, Mr Trump Jr got ahead of the game and tweeted it himself. The content left little doubt over the meeting’s pretext.
The emails show that he was told the meeting would provide dirt on Hillary Clinton that could help his father’s campaign.
The exchange was also very explicit about the Russian government’s “support for Mr Trump”, a notion which raised no questions or surprise from Mr Trump Jr.
Prior to this we’ve heard about undisclosed meetings between members of Mr Trump’s team and Russian officials but there’s been very little about the content.
This is the first time we’ve learnt that Mr Trump’s team were aware of Russia’s intention to meddle to the detriment of Mrs Clinton. It’s also the first clear sign that Mr Trump’s team was willing to help them in that aim.
“Collusion” has become a buzz word in Washington as numerous investigations try to get to the bottom of whether Mr Trump’s team worked with the Kremlin in its 2016 interference. The Trump administration has repeatedly denied the idea which Mr Trump calls a witch-hunt.
The Russian lawyer involved said she has no Kremlin links nor did she have any damaging information on Mrs Clinton. But the email exchange describes her as a “Russian government attorney” – when agreeing to the meeting that’s who Mr Trump Jr thought he would be getting information from.
This is without question a gear change in the whole Russia story.
The White House is seemingly struggling to find the right response.
Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr Trump praised his son’s transparent handling of the issue before refusing to answer any questions about it.
Mr Trump Jr’s defence is that this was just good old fashioned political dirt digging.
But this went beyond Washington – beyond the United States – and into the realms of a foreign adversary.
While collusion itself is not a crime, intent to solicit a contribution from a foreign national is.
Victoria Nourse, former White House counsel to the vice president Joe Biden said: “This email, as far as I can say, is good evidence of intent to solicit a contribution from a foreign national.
“At the very least, it shows knowledge that the individual was foreign, which should have set off alarm bells.
“Whatever Mr Trump may have thought was going on, whenever anyone in a campaign is dealing with a foreign national, and it involves anything of value, information or money, that’s when you go 1-800-FBI.”
The White House says President Trump wants to move on and focus on the business of governing but the list of undisclosed Russia meetings is growing – suspicion is reaching new heights.