President Trump appears to change his story about meeting

Charlene Craig
August 7, 2018

"I did not know about it!"

As Law&Crime reported before, recent reporting about the focuses of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation indicate that Trump would be wise to be more guarded about his tweets.

It is his most direct statement so far on the reason for Donald Trump Jr's meeting with Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016.

That misleading statement, which the White House later admitted was drafted with the president's help, said the Trump Tower meeting was about a law governing adoptions from Russian Federation rather than a meeting to get negative information about Clinton.

KEITH: It's germane. Also, though, there is the question of, why did President Trump and those around him initially try to hide the fact that they had been offered dirt on Hillary Clinton?

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His comments come after the president dismissed news reports Sunday that he's anxious about legal trouble for his son related to the special counsel's investigation, and renewed his attacks on the media. On Sunday, Trump again suggested without evidence that Mueller was biased against him, declaring, "This is the most one sided Witch Hunt in the history of our country".

Asked in late July about Mueller's reported review of Trump's tweets, Rudy Giuliani, the President's attorney, appeared to dismiss the idea.

Trump Jr could be then heard saying, 'Hello?'.

"Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent", Trump wrote on Twitter.

But "willfully soliciting a foreign contribution is a crime", Rick Hasen, a campaign finance expert and law professor at the University of California, Irvine, said in an email Monday. In politics, that's called opposition research. Now, in the face of that, President Trump had to change the message. That explanation did not last very long because then emails about that meeting came out. They cited multiple unnamed sources.

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Unhappily for the Times, as it own story admits, its first paragraph - and others like it elsewhere - doesn't say anything new.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday he believes the president is so busy worrying about allegations of conspiracy and collusion against the Trump campaign that he refuses to concede that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election at all.

What is new from the president's comments Sunday is his declaration that the meeting is "totally legal". "Anybody who says they know is just guessing". "None of this is normal or credible", Mr. Schiff tweeted. Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination with Trump campaign aides. Trump has publicly expressed a desire to be interviewed, but his lawyers have repeatedly objected to the investigators' proposals. In any event, participants in the meeting, including Veselnitskaya, said no reports about Clinton were exchanged.

He concluded by distancing himself from the meeting his son arranged, writing: "I did not know about it!" "I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People". But also, they didn't give us anything good, and we didn't act on it. "They are very unsafe & sick!" A few days later, Trump tweeted the same defense.

Trump's legal team defended the statement as "short but accurate" in a letter sent to Mueller in January, as quoted in the New York Times.

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