Washington: Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney says the US president knew in advance of a June 2016 meeting in which Russians promised to share dirt on then-election rival Hillary Clinton, US media reported on Thursday.
Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, son Don-ald Jr., and top campaign official Paul Manafort met at New York’s Trump Tower on June 9, 2016 with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had said she was offering information from the Russian government aimed at helping Trump win the presidency. Trump, his son, his lawyers and other administration officials have repeatedly said Trump did not know about the now infamous meeting until news of it broke in July 2017.
“No, I didn’t know anything about the meeting,” Trump told The New York Times that month.
However, according to CNN and NBC, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who is under investigation and has fallen out with the president, claims he was present when Donald Jr. told his father about the Russians’ offer to meet, and that Trump approved of it. Cohen’s assertion is very important: if he can back it up, it would be a key step to proving there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia aimed at helping Trump win the presidency — an essential focus of the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller.
The Trump Tower meeting was arranged by a music promoter, Rob Goldstone, who reached out to Trump Jr saying he had “official documents and information that would incriminate Hill-ary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” Trump Jr responded “I love it” when first offered the political “dirt” on Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee.