Trump denies knowing about Trump Tower meeting in advance


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

President Donald Trump denied Friday that he knew in advance about a Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 between a Russian lawyer, his eldest son and other campaign aides that had been convened to hear dirt on his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Trump tweeted, “NO,” he “did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr.”

CNN reported Thursday Trump’s former longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, claims Trump knew in advance about the meeting. CNN cited anonymous sources saying Cohen was willing to share that information with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

A person familiar with the investigation confirmed that report to The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Attorneys for Cohen did not respond to requests for comment on CNN’s report that Cohen claimed he was present when Trump Jr. told his father about the Tower meeting and the elder Trump approved it.

Cohen wasn’t at the Trump Tower meeting and has not offered evidence to support the claim that Trump knew about the meeting.

He does not have any recordings of the meeting, according to the person who spoke to the AP.

Trump’s team met with the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, believing she had dirt on Clinton to share.

The Associated Press reported this week that Veselnitskaya worked more closely with senior Russian government officials than she previously let on, based on scores of emails, transcripts and legal documents that show her to be a well-connected attorney who served as a ghostwriter for top Russian government lawyers and received assistance from senior Interior Ministry personnel in a case involving a key client.

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