Donald Trump denies advance knowledge of son’s meeting with Russian lawyer

Hugh Fox
July 31, 2018

USA president Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said that Trump knew in advance about a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower at which Russians offered to provide damaging information about his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, CNN reported on Thursday.

Citing sources with knowledge of Cohen's claims, CNN said the attorney is willing to share that information with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Fighting the Russia investigation on two fronts Friday, President Donald Trump mocked prosecutors for investigating presidential tweets, and he again denied knowing about a 2016 meeting between his son and a Russian lawyer claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton.

"Donald Trump Jr. has been professional and responsible throughout the Mueller and Congressional investigations", Trump Jr.'s attorney told the network.

After a week of revelations that suggest Michael Cohen may have turned on Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the President's current lawyer, argued that Trump's former attorney wasn't credible and has "lied all his life".

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Trump's knowledge of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting was first reported Thursday by CNN.

Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting at Trump Tower so that he could explore a Russian offer of supposedly damaging information on Democratic presidential candidate Clinton.

"Michael Cohen can't be believed unless it's corroborated five times", Giuliani said.

Democrats said the Cohen news, if true, means the Judiciary Committee needs to call Trump Jr. back for more questions. Sen.

Giuliani also said Cohen is "the kind of witness that can really destroy your whole case" and called Cohen, who was a top Trump Organization attorney for a decade, a "pathological liar".

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Mark Cuban, the billionaire businessman who was spotted dining with Cohen a couple of times in New York City a year ago, told CNN that Cohen has mostly talked to him about his hopes of writing a book and about his son's baseball career. "Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam".

Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Cohen, said he had no comment but told CNBC: "I have to wonder why the Trump people would put that out". There have been earlier suggestions, from elsewhere, that Trump knew about the meeting.

Donald Trump Jr. has repeatedly denied that he told his father in advance about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Rudy Giuliani, one of the president's personal attorneys in the Russian Federation investigation, jumped on that when he began responding to the CNN report: Not only does Cohen not have anything to back up his story, and not only is he in a serious jam with federal investigators in New York City, but he also doesn't tell the truth about anything - he's the "liar in chief", as Giuliani told NPR. The Russian government said through intermediaries to Trump Jr. that it was supporting Trump and wanted to help the campaign.

At the meeting, Trump Jr. was joined by his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who was Trump's campaign chairman at the time.

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He told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Thursday night: "I expected something like this from Cohen". Mr Trump has denied the affair. "We are very confident of the accuracy and reliability of the information that has been provided by Mr. Trump, Jr., and on his behalf". They also note that two days before the meeting, Trump mysteriously announced plans to give a "major speech" about Clinton's scandals. As we now know, Trump Jr. later acknowledged that it clearly wasn't just about adoption. The notion of collusion or a conspiracy is a "hoax", Trump frequently says, and Mueller's investigation is a "witch hunt".

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