Trump lawyer says 'our recollection keeps changing' about statement on Trump Jr meeting with Russians

Giuliani said the presiderecollection of the 2016 meeting "keeps changing."

June 3, 2018, 12:17 PM

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said the Trump team's recollections about a statement made on an infamous Trump Tower meeting "keeps changing."

"This is the reason you don’t let this president testify in the special counsel’s Russia investigation,” Giuliani told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday. "Our recollection keeps changing, or we’re not even asked a question and somebody makes an assumption.”

Giuliani was referring to Donald Trump Jr.’s initial statement last year about a meeting he had with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign.

President Trump personally dictated the first statement his son gave in response to reports of the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort with a Russian lawyer and her associates, senior-level sources told ABC News in 2017.

ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos interviews Rudy Giuliani on "This Week," June 3, 2018.
ABC News

The Washington Post was the first to report last July that the president dictated the statement that his son and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya "primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children" at the meeting.

The statement emphasized that the subject of the meeting was "not a campaign issue at the time," the Post reported.

Trump Jr. later acknowledged that he took the meeting after being told that he would receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton at the meeting.

Reports that the president dictated his son’s initial statement were confirmed in a letter the president's legal team sent to special counsel Robert Mueller. The New York Times obtained and published the Jan. 29 letter on Saturday.

Trump's lawyers write in the letter that the president "dictated a short but accurate response" to The New York Times about the Trump Tower meeting.

Previously, the White House has said that Trump neither dictated nor signed off on the statement about the meeting.

President Donald Trump attends a meeting with governors and members of Congress on agriculture at the White House in Washington on April 12, 2018.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow told ABC News in July 2017 that the president had nothing to do with his son's statement.

"The president didn't sign off on anything," Sekulow said on “Good Morning America” at the time. "The statement ... was released by Donald Trump Jr. and, I'm sure, in consultation with his lawyers. The president wasn't involved in that."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also told reporters in a briefing in August 2017 that “the President weighed in as any father would, based on the limited information that he had,” adding later in the briefing, “He certainly didn’t dictate, but he — like I said, he weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do.”

Rudy Giuliani in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week," June 3, 2018.
ABC News

Giuliani told Stephanopoulos on Sunday that the Trump team’s "changing" recollections about the drafting of the statement are an example of why they believe the president should not testify in the Russia investigation, saying “that’s been the danger of being interviewed.”

“If I say something wrong on this show… if you were the FBI, my goodness, I’d -- they could prosecute me for the mistake. They’d say of course it was a lie,” Giuliani said.

“Jay [Sekulow] and I want to keep an open mind" about whether Trump should agree to an interview with Mueller," Giuliani added. "I just want to be honest: We're leaning toward not."

Giuliani argued that Mueller doesn't need Trump's testimony. "You've got everything you need; you've got 1.4 million documents, you have 28 witnesses ... You’ve got everything you need, what -- what do you need us for?"

Related Topics