Now Trump claims he was “totally unaware” of son, son-in-law, and campaign manager’s meeting with Russians
Trump’s then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner also joined Trump Jr’s meeting with Russians that Trump claims he knew nothing about.
U.S. President Donald Trump stressed on Wednesday he was unaware of his son Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting last year with a Russian lawyer who reportedly provided damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Speaking to the Reuters news agency in an interview, Trump said he only learned of the meeting a couple of days ago.
Asked if he knew that his son was meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June last year, shortly after he won the Republican presidential nomination, Trump replied, “No, that I didn’t know until a couple of days ago when I heard about this.”
The New York Times reported on the weekend about the meeting between Trump’s son and Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-linked lawyer.
Trump’s then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner also reportedly attended the meeting.
Trump Jr. on Tuesday released the entire email chain of the conversations which led to the meeting. The emails apparently showed he eagerly agreed to meet the woman.
In the interview with Reuters, Trump said he did not fault his son for holding the meeting, saying, “I think many people would have held that meeting.”
The emails were the most concrete evidence that Trump campaign officials welcomed Russian help to win the 2016 election, a subject that has cast a cloud over Trump’s presidency and prompted investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and Congress.
In Wednesday’s interview, Trump told Reuters he directly asked Russian President Vladimir Putin if he was involved in what U.S. intelligence says was Russian meddling in the presidential campaign and that Putin had insisted he was not.
Trump said he spent the first 20 or 25 minutes of his more than two-hour meeting with Putin last Friday in Germany on the election meddling subject.