Trump's Defense of Don Jr. Meeting Puzzles Analysts

He admits it was to gather information on Clinton
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2018 4:36 AM CDT
Updated Aug 6, 2018 6:52 AM CDT
Trump Admits Purpose of Son's Meeting With Russian Lawyer
In this Nov. 15, 2016, photo, Donald Trump Jr. waits for an elevator at Trump Tower in New York.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Trump defended Donald Trump Jr.'s controversial 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer Sunday—but he did so in a way that left analysts as puzzled as ever. Trump tweeted that stories he was concerned about a meeting his "wonderful son" had in Trump Tower were a "complete fabrication," Politico reports. "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!" he wrote. The tweet contradicted a statement issued by Trump Jr. in 2017 stating that the meeting had been mainly about the adoption of Russian children, which the Trump team later admitted to special counsel Robert Mueller had been drafted by the president himself, the New York Times reports.

It's illegal for a campaign to accept help from foreign individuals and governments, the Times notes, and some legal experts believe Trump Jr. may have broken the law just by attending a meeting he believed would deliver damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Aaron Blake at the Washington Post notes that it will now be almost impossible for lawyers to deny the true motive of the Trump Tower meeting, and that the 2017 statement was false. "If you're Robert Mueller and you're looking at whether Trump obstructed justice, you've now got even more evidence of a clear attempt to mislead the public and obscure the truth," he writes, wondering why Trump is taking steps to distance himself from the meeting if he really believes it was on the up-and-up. (Read more Donald Trump Jr. stories.)

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