New Delhi, Aug 6: United States President Donald Trump has admitted that his son met a Russian lawyer in June 2016 “to get information on an opponent”, but defended saying it was legal. 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, BBC reported on Monday. Also Read - US Imposes Sanctions on Russian and Chinese Companies For Supporting Iranian Missile Programme
Trump took to the micro-blogging site Twitter and said, “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it.” Also Read - For Big Tech, Joe Biden Brings A New Era But No Ease In Scrutiny By Marcon Gordon
The meeting has come under intense scrutiny from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with a Russian effort to sway the 2016 election in the Republican’s favour.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that Trump has been brooding in private about whether his son unintentionally put himself in legal jeopardy by meeting with Veselnitskaya.
Donald Jr. initially said in a statement to the New York Times in July 2017 that the meeting was “primarily” about American adoptions of Russian children. The Post has reported that the statement was dictated by the president.
However, he subsequently admitted he had agreed to the meeting after being told he would be offered information that would prove detrimental to Clinton. He also released the email exchange that brought about the meeting.
US media then reported that the US president had been involved in the initial statement his son issued at the meeting. This was initially denied by Trump’s team, but his lawyers later confirmed that he had, in fact, dictated his son’s statement.
US commentators have argued that Trump’s new admission that the meeting was to gain information about Clinton shows that the earlier statement was misleading.
However, Russia has repeatedly denied claims it interfered in the November 2016 presidential elections, where Trump defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
(With agencies inputs)