Published: Mon, August 06, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Trump admits getting dirt on Clinton was focus of meeting with Russians

Trump admits getting dirt on Clinton was focus of meeting with Russians

In a post to his Twitter feed early Sunday morning, Trump admitted for the first time that the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting involving his son, Donald Trump Jr., and a group of Russians including a Kremlin-linked lawyer, was meant to receive opposition research on 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

According to the Washington Post, a White House advisor, speaking on the condition of anonymity, has stated that President Trump has told friends and fellow advisors that he is fearful that his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., may have put himself in legal jeopardy.

In a tweet about that report on Sunday, Trump said, "This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere".

And Trump once again defended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting in which his son met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer saying it was "totally legal" and that he didn't know about it.

Trump Jr. initially claimed in a statement - which the president dictated himself - that he had "primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children" during the "short introductory meeting".

"They're talking about this blue wave", Trump said referring to way Democrats are depicted on electoral maps.

In other words, the goal of holding the meeting, from the Trump team's perspective, was to get negative information about Hillary Clinton.

Trump Jr.'s testimony to Congress contained a similar defense as his father's Sunday tweet, indicating that he saw no reason not to accept a meeting that could yield important information about Clinton, even though he was told that it was part of an effort by the government of a hostile power.

"I wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the president", Sekulow claimed in July 2017. In fact, as Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall has reported, Trump came up with the false "adoptions" story just hours after a lengthy private discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Germany.

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Trump and his son have both said then-candidate Trump had no advance knowledge of the meeting and that the meeting itself was not useful to the campaign.

Legal experts have often pointed to a possible violation of federal election laws, which ban taking anything of value - which could include information on a political opponent - from a foreign government trying to influence a US election.

"The question is, how would it be illegal?" he asked.

"I am comfortable in saying this: if there was evidence, strong evidence of collusion, I guarantee you it would have been leaked by now", the Republican senator said. "When you look at a meeting, George, that took place ... now two years ago, the question is, 'What law, statute or rule or regulation's been violated?' Nobody's pointed to one".

One part of Mueller's inquiry and congressional investigations has focused on a meeting months before the November election in Trump Tower in NY between Russian officials, Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, and other campaign aides. And at a trio of rallies, he escalated his already vitriolic rhetoric toward the media, savaging the press for unflattering coverage and, he feels, bias.

This is another reason why Trump shouldn't meet with Mueller.

Both the Washington Post and Tapper have reported that Trump is indeed increasingly anxious about, as Tapper said today, Junior's "legal exposure getting in the Mueller probe".

In December, Donald Junior told House Intelligence Committee members that he had been in touch with Hope Hicks, who was on Air Force One with the president at the time, and she advised him on the statement. "They can also cause War!"

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