POLITICS
08/05/2018 08:56 am ET Updated Aug 06, 2018

Donald Trump Says Son's Trump Tower Meeting Was To Get Clinton Dirt But 'Totally Legal'

The president and his legal team have issued a number of contradicting statements about Donald Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer.

President Donald Trump on Sunday denied that he is concerned that his eldest son is a target of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, insisting that his son’s actions during his presidential campaign were “totally legal.” 

“This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere,” Trump said of Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting in Trump Tower with a Kremlin-linked attorney in June 2016.

Trump’s tweet follows recent reports that he is worried about possible legal trouble for his eldest son.

The president, his legal team and his son have issued a number of contradicting statements for meeting in the year since the New York Times first reported on it. 

In July 2017, Trump Jr. initially claimed the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was about a Russian adoption issue and “not a campaign issue at the time.” A day later, he admitted that he’d agreed to sit down with Veselnitskaya after being offered dirt on his father’s political opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The Times reported last July that Trump signed off on his son’s first response about the meeting. His lawyer, Jay Sekulow, repeatedly insisted that the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement. Later that month, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said he was involved but denied a Washington Post report that claimed he personally dictated it.

President Donald Trump is seen before boarding Air Force One to Ohio at the Morristown Airport in Morristown, NJ, on Sat
Leah Millis / Reuters
President Donald Trump is seen before boarding Air Force One to Ohio at the Morristown Airport in Morristown, NJ, on Saturday.

But in a January memo, Trump’s attorneys admitted that he did dictate the statement. Rudy Giuliani said in June confirmed that it’s the legal team’s “final position” that the president dictated it.

Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow, speaking on ABC “This Week” on Sunday, attempted to downplay and delegitimize Mueller’s investigation.

“The question is what law, statute or rule or regulation has been violated? And nobody has pointed to one,” he said, later adding that “there are irregularities in this investigation, the likes of which we have not seen.”

Asked whether Trump would testify as part of Mueller’s investigation if asked, Sekulow said that they would not advise him to give an interview at this time.

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