POLITICS
07/27/2018 08:17 am ET Updated Jul 27, 2018

Trump Denies He Knew Of His Son's Trump Tower Meeting With Russians

Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen reportedly said the president knew in advance about Donald Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting.

President Donald Trump on Friday denied reports that his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen claimed he had prior knowledge of his son’s June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer.

In other tweets, he attacked “the Fake News” for asking “dumb questions” and again decried special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia as “a rigged Witch Hunt.”

Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting, which was also attended by then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, has raised significant questions about whether the campaign colluded with Russia during the presidential election. The rendezvous with Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was arranged after Trump Jr. was promised “information that would incriminate” his father’s opponent Hillary Clinton.

Cohen, who is under investigation for a different case about paying hush money to silence women who said they had extramarital affairs with Trump, as well as other allegations of fraud, has increasingly shown signs that he may be willing to cooperate with investigators. Several of Cohen’s wide-ranging financial interests have drawn scrutiny, including his involvement in a New York City taxi cab business. His partner in that business, Evgeny Freidman, in May pleaded guilty to tax evasion in exchange for agreeing to assist federal and state investigators ―  a move that was seen as potentially problematic for Cohen.

On Friday, Trump alluded to this, tweeting: “Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam.”

CNN, which first broke the story of Cohen’s claim Thursday evening, reported that Cohen told sources that he was in the room when Trump found out about his son’s meeting.

However, Cohen, who is known to have made recordings of many of his dealings with Trump, does not have physical evidence of his claim, the sources told CNN.

Federal investigators have seized scores of Cohen’s tapes — including one released earlier this week, in which the two men can be heard discussing the hush money payment to quash former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story alleging an affair with Trump.

This story has been updated with more background information.

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