White House admits Trump 'weighed in' on misleading statement about son's meeting with Russian lawyer
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16.08.2017

White House admits Trump 'weighed in' on misleading statement about son's meeting with Russian lawyer

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The White House has said Donald Trump "weighed in" on the misleading statement issued by his son, Donald Trump Jr, on his controversial meeting with a Russian lawyer. 

"The President weighed in as any father would, based on the limited information he had," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, adding that Mr Trump "certainly didn't dictate" his son's statement, but did offer suggestions. 

The comments came after the Washington Post reported that Mr Trump had dictated the statement, citing anonymous sources with knowledge of the deliberations. Mr Trump's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, had previously said the President "wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all". 
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The statement has drawn scrutiny in recent weeks, as more information regarding the June 2016 meeting has come to light.

Mr Trump Jr described the meeting in his initial statement as a "a short introductory meeting" with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, in which they primarily discussed a programme about the adoption of Russian children.

"It was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up," Mr Trump Jr said.
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Days later, however, Mr Trump Jr released emails showing that he had been promised incriminating information on Hillary Clinton in exchange for taking the meeting. The meeting organiser claimed the information was part of a Russian government effort to support Mr Trump's campaign.

The meeting was also revealed to have included a Russian-American lobbyist and a former State Department translator.

According to the Post, White House advisers had initially intended to release a full, truthful statement on the meeting. Hours later, however, Mr Trump allegedly weighed in, and dictated the heavily edited statement that was eventually released to the press. 
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"This was . . . unnecessary," one of the President's advisers told the Post. "Now someone can claim he's the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn't want you to say the whole truth."

The White House has previously been criticised for their misleading statements on the President, most notably after Mr Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey. The White House initially claimed Mr Comey had been fired for his handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server. Mr Trump later told NBC's Lester Holt he had been thinking of the Russia investigation when he fired the Director. 

Several Congressional committees and the Department of Justice are investigating the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia. The Justice Department, lead by special counsel Robert Mueller, is reportedly looking into whether Mr Trump obstructed justice by firing Mr Comey.
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Ms Hucakbee Sanders on Tuesday dismissed any allegations of wrongdoing.

"Everybody wants to try to make this some story about misleading. The only things I see misleading is a year's worth of stories that have been fuelling a false narrative about this Russia collusion," she said. 

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