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

Hugh Fox
August 6, 2018

US President Donald Trump has admitted his son met a Russian lawyer in June 2016 "to get information on an opponent", but argues it was legal.

Sekulow also supported Trump's tweet on Sunday asserting there was nothing illegal about a controversial 2016 Trump Tower meeting aimed at getting dirt on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Trump's morning Twitter post was his most direct statement on the goal of the meeting, though his son and others have said it was to gather damaging information on the Democratic candidate. CNN reported last month that Michael Cohen, the president's longtime personal lawyer and self-described "fixer" was willing to tell Mueller that Trump did know about the meeting in advance. When the story of the meeting broke wide open in July of a year ago, Trump Jr. quickly issued a statement - which was dictated by his father - that the meeting had been about Russian adoption.

Amid public uproar over the meeting, the president's son was forced to release follow-up statements, ultimately acknowledging that the meeting's true objective had been to get dirt about Hillary Clinton from a lawyer he had been told was working for the Russian government.

"The question is what law, statute or rule or regulation has been violated and nobody has pointed to one", Sekulow said Sunday.

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"I wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the President", Sekulow said on July 12, 2017.

Previously, the Trumps pushed another explanation for the meeting, after having failed to disclosed it and denied anything of the sort had ever happened in the first place.

Sunday's tweet appears to acknowledge that the meeting was actually predicated on opposition research: "This was a meeting to get information on an opponent".

Manafort is now on trial for unrelated bank and tax fraud charges as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, and Sekulow said that to his knowledge, Trump not the target of a federal probe stemming from the meeting.

When asked by host George Stephanopoulos how a meeting arranged to get information on an opponent could be legal, Sekulow responded: "Well, the question is, how would it be illegal?"

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Sekulow added that he has "no knowledge" of the president's son testifying to the special counsel's grand jury or being told that he is a "target", which is an official designation the Justice Department would use to tell someone that they are likely to be indicted.

President Trump is back at his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, and this morning he released another flurry of tweets, including one about his son Don Jr. Mueller was appointed to take over the probe after the firing.

Trump's days of private anger spilled out into public with the Twitter outburst, which comes at a perilous time for the president. "I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People".

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".

This was initially denied by Mr Trump's team, but his lawyers later confirmed that he had in fact dictated his son's statement. Trump has seethed against what he feels are trumped-up charges against his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, whose trial began last week and provided a visible reminder of Mueller's work. "They can also cause War!"

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