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World
06 Aug 2018

Russian lawyer meeting: Trump ties himself up in knots

Does Trump know what happened in June 2016?

US President Donald Trump has landed himself in a PR fiasco with his latest statement on a June'16 meeting between his son and a Russian lawyer.

"This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics- and it went nowhere. I didn't know about it!" he tweeted.

Which makes us think: why did he deny it before then?

In context

Does Trump know what happened in June 2016?

The damning tweet

The meeting from where it all started

Meeting

The meeting from where it all started

The meeting took place between Donald Trump Jr. and lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who has been linked with the Kremlin.

Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and top campaign official Paul Manafort also attended.

News of it broke only in July'17.

In a statement, Trump Jr. said: "It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children."

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Twist-1

The twists and turns

On July 9 2017, just a day after Trump Jr.'s statement, there were reports he was promised "dirt" on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the meeting.

In a clear departure from his initial response, he then released his emails with British music promoter Rob Goldstone, who is associated with Russian pop star Emin and his wealthy father Aras Agalarov, who set up the meeting.

The explosive emails

In the emails, Goldstone had written to Trump Jr. that he had "information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father." One of Trump Jr.'s responses was: "I love it."

Twists-2

More twists and turns

The President first denied all knowledge of the meeting and Trump Jr.'s original statement.

However, last month, reports confirmed that back in January, his lawyers had acknowledged that he had dictated it himself.

"You have received all notes...indicating that the President dictated a short but accurate response...on behalf of his son," a letter from his lawyers to Special Counsel Robert Mueller reads.

Twists-3

And some more of them

Now Trump has admitted that a meeting he presumably didn't know about was planned to "get information on an opponent," and he also asserts that it was "totally legal."

The meeting has come under intense scrutiny by Mueller, who is probing the Russian interference in the US presidential elections to ensure a Republican win and the administration's alleged involvement in the conspiracy.

Trump's lawyers claim 'made a mistake' in initial statement

Lawyers

Trump's lawyers claim 'made a mistake' in initial statement

Trump's lawyers are now in a soup too. Jay Sekulow, one of his attorneys, said after his latest tweet that he "made a mistake in (his) statement."

"I had bad information at that time and made a mistake in my statement. That happens when you have cases like this," he said.

"(But) the question is, how will it be illegal?" he asked.

Probe

Trump decries Mueller's probe as "the most one-sided witch hunt"

The investigation in the Russian collusion case has already resulted in the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers, who were involved in hacking the servers of senior Democrats.

Responding, Russian President Vladimir Putin described Mueller's probe as "political games" that shouldn't be permitted to interfere with US-Russia relations.

Trump has also called it "the most one-sided Witch Hunt in the history of our country."

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