Democrats were throwing words like “collusion” and “treason” around on Tuesday after the release of e-mails showing that Donald Trump Jr. knew of a Russian effort to aid his father. But the GOP response was far more muted.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch called the matter ‘‘overblown,’’ describing Trump Jr. as ‘‘a very nice young man.’’

In a statement reported by NBC, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary noted that the meeting came before Pence joined the campaign as the vice presidential nominee.

“He was not aware of the meeting,” Marc Lotter said, according to NBC. “He is also not focused on stories about the campaign — especially those pertaining to the time before he joined the campaign.”


Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina appeared at a news conference with seven other GOP senators, insisting that Republicans should not be ‘‘distracted’’ by the latest reports on Russia and instead stay focused on their agenda. None of the other attendees at the press conference responded to a question on the new emails released by Trump Jr.

Senator David Perdue of Georgia says several congressional committees are already looking at the matter.

Trump Jr. tweeted an e-mail exchange Tuesday showing that he eagerly accepted help from what was described to him as a Russian government effort to aid his father’s campaign with damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.