U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged on Sunday that his son met with Russians in 2016 at Trump Tower to get information on his election opponent Hillary Clinton, saying it was "totally legal" and "done all the time in politics".
As he has in the past, Mr Trump insisted in a tweet that he did not know at the time about the meeting between his son Donald Jr and Natalia Veselnitskaya, a lawyer with links to the Kremlin. But before we leave Trump Tower, I mean, could this be causing some heartburn for the president's lawyers, and maybe actually these tweets catching Robert Mueller's eye a bit? Veselnitskaya wanted the meeting so they could talk about lifting Russian adoptions and possibly lifting sanctions if Trump were to win the election, while Trump Jr. expected useful information against Clinton.
At the time, in July 2017, Trump offered a similar comment to the one he made on Sunday, dismissing the meeting with a Russian lawyer promising dirt on his political opponent as no big deal.
Email released by Donald Jr. himself showed he had been keen on the meeting because his father's campaign was being offered potentially damaging information on Clinton.
He was responding to a Washington Post report over the weekend that although he does not think his eldest son intentionally broke the law, he is anxious that Mr Trump Jr may have unintentionally stumbled into legal jeopardy and is embroiled in Mr Mueller's investigation largely because of his connection to the President.
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Sekulow, repeating the recent mantra of Trump's legal team and of the president himself, said there "has been no evidence at this point of any type of collusion by the president".
Mirengoff explained that the Times is confusing the goal of the meeting - for Trump, getting the information about Clinton - with the focus of the meeting - "what the participants actually talked about".
On Sunday morning, Trump responded to reports in the Washington Post and on CNN that he was concerned Donald Jr. could be in legal trouble. "In agreeing to the meeting, the younger Trump told Goldstone, "(I) f it's what you say I love it". Sekulow said of Trump Jr.'s meeting. In politics, that's called opposition research.
The President reportedly has been advised to knock off the tweeting about the meeting with the Russians.
On Sunday, Trump also defended tariffs he has imposed on imports into the U.S.
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Chinese officials responded early Wednesday to threats of higher tariffs by saying they would retaliate again. In 2017, the United States had a $376 billion trade deficit with China, which it is keen to cut.
The negotiations come amid a backdrop of Trump's escalating attacks on the probe, including his blunt declaration that his attorney general should terminate "right now" the federal probe into the campaign that took him to the White House, a newly fervent attack on the special counsel investigation that could imperil his presidency. Sekulow asked on ABC News' "This Week," saying no laws prohibit campaign aides from meeting with foreign agents.
Giuliani, one of Trump's lawyers, would not characterize the response. Giuliani has stalled on whether the president will sit for an interview with Mueller, attempted to move the goalposts by emphasizing that "collusion is not a crime", and even employed dramatic facial expressions to suggest that it's Mueller's team, not the White House, that's being kooky and unreasonable.
"I find it hard to believe the president will do the interview voluntarily", said David Kris, a former head of the national security division at the Justice Department.
It's unclear whether Trump's latest admission will affect Mueller's probe in any way.
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He added that the team may be receptive to questions of obstruction "if they could show us one or two there, we can consider it". Moscow has denied such interference, and Trump has denied any collusion by his campaign or any obstruction of justice .