The New York Times is reporting Donald Trump Jr. agreed to meet with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the 2016 campaign after being promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump Jr. and Trump’s then-campaign chair, Paul Manafort, attended the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower two weeks after Trump won the Republican nomination. Since the news broke, Donald Trump Jr. has given at least two conflicting explanations for the meeting. On Saturday, he first issued a statement that made no mention of being promised information on Clinton, saying only that the meeting was about the U.S. adoption of Russian children. Then, on Sunday, Trump Jr. issued another statement about his meeting with the Kremlin-linked lawyer, saying, “I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign.” The New York Times’s revelations come as President Trump is facing multiple investigations into his ties to Russia and whether members of his campaign colluded with the Russians to interfere in the U.S. election. Donald Trump Jr. also faced criticism on Saturday for retweeting a doctored clip of the movie “Top Gun,” edited so it appears that President Trump is a fighter pilot shooting down a jet with the CNN logo. This comes less than a week after President Trump faced criticism for tweeting a doctored video of himself body-slamming and punching a figure whose head has been replaced by the CNN logo. The Trump White House is also considering blocking a pending merger between Time Warner—CNN’s parent company—and AT&T, amid Trump’s escalating feud with the network. Meanwhile, another one of Trump’s children, Ivanka Trump, also sparked criticism when she took her father’s seat briefly at the G20 summit, sitting between British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The move was widely criticized back in the United States, given that Ivanka Trump is a businesswoman with no diplomatic experience and no elected position in the administration. Both Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner serve as senior advisers to Trump. We’ll have more on the Trump family, including Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, later in the broadcast.
Following theG20 meeting with Trump, Russian President Putin said Trump had accepted his denial of election interference.
President Vladimir Putin: “Our position is well known. I’ve spoken about it. There are no grounds to believe that Russia interfered in the election process in the United States. He asked a lot of questions about this issue. I answered these questions as well as I could. It seems to me he accepted it and agreed. But you are better off asking him what he thought about it.”
Trump is now backpedaling on the plan to form a joint cybersecurity unit with Russia, after facing widespread backlash over the weekend, including from South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
Sen. Lindsey Graham: “And he had what I think is a disastrous meeting with President Putin. Two hours and 15 minutes of meetings, Tillerson and Trump are ready to forgive and forget when it comes to cyberattacks on the American election of 2016.