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In the furore that followed, the president's critics screamed for blood.
Even a moderate Democrat such as Virginia senator Tim Kaine - Clinton's vice-presidential running mate last year - raised the prospect of "treason".
You get a one-sided perspective." Ivanka sought to put a more positive gloss on the divorce. "We didn't take his presence for granted anymore." Even setting aside the turmoil of the Donald-Ivana split, the children's early memories suggest a distance from both parents, especially their father. Ivana, who managed a casino complex her husband then operated in Atlantic City, had plenty of demands on her time, too.
Trump's children from his first marriage have talked in the past about the difficulties they experienced in coping with their parents' divorce. One infamous example came when tabloid New York Post splashed Maples's claim that her amorous activities with Trump amounted to the "best sex I've ever had" across its front page.
Donald Jr, who was about 12 years old at the time, would recall years later to a New York Magazine interviewer: "You don't even know what that means. Your private life becomes very public, and I didn't have anything to do with it: my parents did." Donald Jr stopped speaking to his father for about a year at the time of the divorce.
The children were looked after in part by two Irish nannies named Dorothy and Bridget.
In the summer, they often spent time with their maternal grandparents in what was then Czechoslovakia.
Trump Jr, replying almost immediately, enthuses: "If it's what you say, I love it especially later in the summer" - an apparent reference to the possibility that the information could be put to best use as the general election campaign against Clinton ramped up.