President Donald Trump said he did not know of his son's meeting with a Russian attorney in which Donald Trump Jr. expected to hear incriminating information about Hillary Clinton until "a couple of days ago," echoing the claim made by Trump Jr. in his recent defenses of the encounter.
In an interview with Reuters Wednesday, Trump Sr. seemed to dismiss the controversy swirling around his eldest son. After The New York Times first reported last weekend that Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016, he released screenshots of emails Tuesday that showed the organization of the meeting, including his interest in damaging information about Clinton.
"I think many people would have held that meeting," said the president to Reuters while maintaining that he was unaware of its occurrence at the time.
"I didn’t know until a couple of days ago when I heard about this," said Trump Sr.
The Reuters interview further included additional details about the Trump Sr.'s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during last week's G-20 summit. While administration advisers have commented that Trump Sr. discussed Russian interference in last year's presidential election with Putin, officials from the two countries offered diverging claims about whether or not the president accepted the Russian leader's denial of involvement.
"I said, 'Did you do it'? And he said, 'No, I did not. Absolutely not,'" Trump told Reuters Wednesday. "I then asked him a second time in a totally different way. He said, 'Absolutely not.'"
Reuters further reported that the discussion about the election comprised "the first 20 or 25 minutes of his more than two-hour meeting."