- President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani admitted Sunday that the controversial 2016 meeting at the Trump Tower between his campaign and a Russian lawyer was to gather information on his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
- Giuliani sparred with “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd over the meeting’s significance in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s look into collusion between the campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.
- Two weeks ago, Trump also admitted the meeting was to get damaging information on then-candidate Clinton, but said it was “totally legal.”
President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani admitted Sunday that the controversial 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Trump campaign officials and a Kremlin-linked attorney was to get “dirt” on his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Giuliani sparred with host Chuck Todd over what could count as collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“The meeting was originally for the purpose of getting information about Clinton,” Giuliani said.
“Which in itself is an attempt at collusion,” Todd said.
“No, no. That was the original intention of the meeting. It turned out to be a meeting about another subject and it was not pursued at all,” Giuliani responded. “And of course any meeting with regards to getting information on your opponent is something any candidate’s staff would take.”
The initial explanation for the meeting was to discuss Russian adoption policy, and the White House’s statements on the meeting have changed over time.
The meeting involvedNatalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-linked lawyer, and Trump’s oldest son. Donald Trump Jr. was one of three top Trump campaign officials, along with Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, who met with the Russian lawyer and several other Kremlin-linked individuals at Trump Tower in June 2016.
It was later reported Veselnitskaya did not provide any damaging information on Clinton as was promised to Trump Jr., which was detailed in his May testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“All they knew is that a woman with a Russian name wanted to meet with them,” Giuliani said. “This is much ado about nothing.”
He said Trump didn’t know the meeting was going to take place. “If this is their case for collusion, good luck Mueller,” Giuliani continued, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s possible coordination with Russia.
Trump said the meeting was to get dirt, but it was ‘totally legal’
Giuliani’s acknowledgment comes two weeks after Trump admitted the meeting was to gain information that would be damaging to his Democratic opponent. In a tweet, Trump called the meeting “totally legal.”
Trump at the time seemed to be responding to stories from CNN and the Washington Post that cited several anonymous sources close to the president who said his concerns over Trump Jr. have pushed him to issue more critical public statements attacking US intelligence and the media.
Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018
Trump’s acknowledgment raised new questions on the extent of Russia’s attempts to influence the election, including any legal or moral obligation for his campaign to submit offers of foreign assistance to authorities.
Trump has continued to rail against Mueller’s probe as a “witch hunt,” tweeting before Giuliani’s appearance Sunday to compare the investigation to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s tirade exposing communists in the 1950s.
Watch a clip of Giuliani’s interview below:
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 19, 2018
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