President Changes Story About Trump Tower Meeting

Charlene Craig
August 6, 2018

President Trump has admitted for the first time that the goal of his son's meeting with a Russian lawyer before the 2016 elections was to gather information about his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

"This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics", the president said.

Mr. Trump Jr. had testified to lawmakers that his father never knew about his meeting in the summer of 2016, which took place to potentially get dirt on Mr. Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton. Veselnitskaya wanted the meeting so they could talk about lifting Russian adoptions and possibly lifting sanctions if Trump were to win the election, while Trump Jr. expected useful information against Clinton. Trump Jr.'s first statement after the initial report asserted the meeting was only about adoption.

To make it looks like there's something new here, the Times cites old statements, not by President Trump but by members of his team, that the meeting focused on subjects other than opposition research.

Trump then particularly went after recent reporting about Robert Mueller's probe into possible links between his campaign and Russian officials, particularly stories on how he may be concerned about his eldest son's legal exposure.

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Trump has denied he had any prior knowledge of the meeting and repeated that claim on Sunday.

President Trump is also correct when he suggests that most political campaigns would have been as interested as his was in obtaining negative information about its opponent from a Russian willing to provide it.

"Well, the question is, 'How would it be illegal?'" Sekulow said of the meeting.

The biggest question has been whether or not Trump's lawyers should allow their client to be interviewed by Mueller's team under oath, given Trump's tendency to speak off the cuff and say things that are contradictory or untrue.

Trump earlier in the day tweeted that the Trump Tower meeting between his son, Donald Trump Jr. Trump seems to be arguing against his own point by assuring us that he had nothing to do with this meeting, which - oh, by the way - was totally on the up-and-up.

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Before he was president, private citizen Donald Trump sat for several depositions in legal cases related to his businesses.

"The president should be straight forward with the American people about the threat to our election process that Russia, Putin in particular, is engaged in is on going", Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said on CNN's "State of the Union" show. Working with a foreign national with the intent of influencing a USA election could violate multiple laws, according to legal experts.

Trump's attacks on the special counsel's investigation have been rebuffed by Republican leaders in Congress who have expressed support for Mueller.

Sen. Rubio drew the ire of conservatives and Trump supporters in July when he said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation did nothing wrong by spying on Trump's campaign advisor, Carter Page. Paul Manafort, who ran Trump's campaign at a crucial time leading into the Republican National Convention, is now on trial on charges concerning his previous business activities that grew out of Mueller's probe.

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