Trump says Russia meeting was about Clinton dirt as Manafort trial continues

Donald Trump says Don Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer was about information on Clinton. Rick Gates is expected to testify against Paul Manafort.
16:49 | 08/06/18

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Transcript for Trump says Russia meeting was about Clinton dirt as Manafort trial continues
I everybody you're watching ABC news I'm John San teaching in Washington alongside Justin official happy Monday to you and it's already has started a crazy week we are talking about the trump tower meeting in the headlines this week. After president from tweeted about it over the weekend his attorney Jay cycle of getting a rare interviewed George on Sunday we're gonna diet and all of that Justin. This is dean. The meaning that has so rounded. From the you know force afford it feels like five years now but it was two years ago right around this time meaning that it happened and still they cannot get away from this they can't get their story sure he act and it seems now that the the president is admitting now that the statement that he originally. Delivered about this meeting which was we now know is dictated in his son Ronald junior issued it. Was was incorrect it's it was all about adoptions and Russian adoption issue now we know. From this this this tweet in certain the most clear terms right as he said it isn't our previous but now we know that there's really nothing no other way to look at this center. Then that this was about getting just your honor Clinton the president has said before is that obtaining information aren't pony yes yes doubling down aren't in boat went in. It is still talking about a meeting that all as far as we know his lawyers had not wanted him I don't get the impression that. This shifting narratives are coming to a head here. Before he goes and possibly need talks to Mahler or before any of this he doesn't want to surprises to come out. Had an interview with Muller and he sort of cleaning up all the public. Thing on things. That's the impression and and the question Hialeah homes and let's bring in ABC's White House correspondent Tara palm area on this she's traveling with the president. And that minster a little hot out there today terra. Every can't find Jersey different ecosystem near you but he'll talk about the that the case. They really are encouraging the president is far sources tell me I'm sure you're hearing the same. They do not want him to Indies on. Think we're only into the special counsel's probe but specifically terror this meeting no knowledge won't go there. Right and it seems that president trump is really playing this out in the public high he sees the American people as the jury. It at the end of the day they're the ones who can either support or throw against an impeachment sort of like what we saw with Bill Clinton and it's an impeachment of some popular if he's able to sway the public into thinking you know what here's all the facts. I've been open with you maybe a little less so in the beginning you know he can sort of shake then area these are even calling it a witchhunt and a hoax and I just think it. You're gonna see trunk as he gets closer to this meeting with Mueller trying to you know use the American public as a jury before he's even really charts. And that's really what we were reporting just a couple days ago as you well know we reported that the special counsel responded. To the trump legal team saying that. They will do an interview the president that you want to ask about obstruction of justice they are open and taking questions involved written. And or form. But it's interesting because everything that wears hearing terror is that. They probably are not gonna come to interview agreement which tease us up to a subpoena fight and that's were George Stephanopoulos asked a secular yesterday on this week. Let's take a listen that. If you get a subpoena you about what's called a motion to quash that will be argued at the district court. That it would go to the Court of Appeals that it would go to the Supreme Court of the United States from the Supreme Court as states goes back down. To the lower courts again so what if the special counsel makes a determination and gets the authority and that's a question they have to have the authority to seek that subpoena. A subpoena worked live testimony has never. Been tested in court as to a president of the United States and there's a lot of language articles and precedent against that. But if that decision is made will bull will prepare to handle in court. Okay now here here's the fact of all this is the first time for everything as we know what the Donald Trump presidency in terror. I have to tell you my thoughts on this I know you talked people are now White House is well. I do not see a world that Donald Trump sits down for an injured him. Ray and he's sitting out there that he's willing to do it it's his way of showing that he's not guilty and any thing. But let's. Talk about the thing that he's also said. He wants is investigation wrapped up right now. And so prolonged legal battle happening anytime soon. You know that mean this is gonna drag out past the mid terms knows we could still be going on during a reelection campaign they end up fighting that battle quarter. I'll tell you one thing he'll want to judge Kavanagh on the bench you before this does a sure path. So you. In his talk about shutting down the government over the wall funding that's all this stuff is interconnected and so you would think you might think twice about that if this does that it has yet what it is certainly terrorists point they wanted to. This going they want to push it into November that we extend moving imaginary lines deadlines we've heard a lot of the track the most the most basic point about all of this is. Yes he he. Muller has the ability does hand out these indictments but he doesn't speak and the president is controlling the narrative here and I think they see. That ahead of November they can control. The narrative and it helps them yeah probably totally calm whereas a wrapping this up that is the complete. Curve. Yeah and changes their strategy completely terror we're and come back to you but we're gonna hate everyone updated. On the negotiations with the special counsel we have heard that it probably looking should be responding in the next couple days will keep you posted on that moving on speaking of the special counsel though. They are carrying out their first trial over an eastern district of Virginia it's against Paul manna for the president's one time campaign chairman as refined EBC's Catherine folders she's been out there from the beginning watching this. And Catherine star witness coming to the stand today from all we're seeing. Rick gates exactly he's inside we've spotted him inside the prosecution says. That he is next to testify and it's about 338 so we should be. Expecting him on that stand any minute now when that happens you'll see people sprinting out behind me but John this is. Definitely the most critical moment so far in this trial I gates. When he was it deputy campaign manager on trust my sixteen campaign before that. He worked for years. With Pollyanna ports so he knows a great deal of information now on the defense and enforce attorneys are trying to paint. We're gates as a liar saying this is all his all. A man for its crimes or because of him and in this trial specifically and a fort. Is facing charges of tax evasion in vain pride John so what the prosecution is it's going to have to do what's imported here. Is Rick Gates's credibility. Yeah and really what it comes down to two Catherine is that this is the first. Person we're going to see. In the special counsel's probe that has pled guilty. Two other charges and is being used them on not only in trial but. Gates is also being used as far as we understand it. To provide information to the special counsel as they continue to expand their probe over the last couple months because unlike. His long time balls all manner for Rick stuck around the campaign for quite some time. If he did and as you remember gates was initially charged along side man a point he's been cooperating. With the special counsel he's been cooperating and with them for five months he's met with Muller's lawyers multiple times and as you mentioned he's been charged with. I'm conspiracy against the US and lying to federal authorities say or write he's the first. I'm not witness who has cooperated with the special counsel Don for this long. Catherine falters thank you we know you're keeping us post and we're waiting for the ambush happened behind you from our team I'm sure he'll let you know. And I'm looking behind me where it with a yellow legal pad could. Exactly the erotic erotic art catapult and thank you very much in parts and here we appreciated. Let's switch gears before leaving today. And we've been keeping an eye on another case ironically also involve special notice wanted to let us Julian aside she is the founder we keep weeks he is teen was behind the infamous DNC email hack in the leak thereof. But now you are in a rare interview we're actually speaking with one of his attorneys Jennifer Robinson right on as the question has been raised over the last several weeks. Will heat beat kicked out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he's being held. There's a new Ecuadorian president there and new Ecuadorian president and he is not so inclined to keep Julian Assange in the embassy there in London which creates big problems for The Andersons 2000 while yeah I mean. That is no easy. Didn't know easy sentence really is what it is and he's done it to himself he's there voluntarily by can't really leave and this is one faces lawyer told. Us is that his. She worries about his health he am basically solitary Wyman and and the first thing she talked to us about was the fact that in her opinion he had nothing to do with the Russian black on the DNC let's take a listen to that. Look all I can tell you is what I've been told I'm mr. Assange himself and as he's had very publicly that the source of this information. Was not the Russians tonight and he has maintained that position through. As far as on the way yes he's obviously in a difficult position I now he is some fortunate that he's not able to. To onto these allegations himself he's cut off from the instant he's cut off from telephone poles and from visitors I was unable to G media. Com entry himself but he's position ease as as was stated before that they do it this source was not Russian. Government source. Well that's what he says Mueller. And and the special counsel say otherwise yeah he they say that there indeed the hacking of the DNC. Came explicitly from Russia and Russian military agents and and WikiLeaks with the pass through to get it to the public. So this is this is Assange is fear and he walks out. He's gonna be arrested by British authorities right for evading. Extradition and then Sweden and then potentially be extradited right and but let's see Sweden they've dropped the charges due to statue limitations that was are unrelated to all this a rape charge him on. But he could he would still be credit picked up at the British authorities and the question is is there is sealed indictment here and we didn't think that all wisdom would suggest that the Justice Department here once. To talk yeah absolutely they definitely need him as far as every a lot of angles as you rightly say about the special counsel's probe not only. We at the hacking but also related to Roger Stone. His contacts with foreign agents is really fast into the one of their parties were played from this interview with Jennifer Robinson again ABC news spoke to her just couple days ago it is just alluded to you know. Also talking about Assange is help we haven't seen him in quite some time and secure lot of meaning injuries now hasn't but she talks that his physical well being take a listen that. The circumstances inside the embassy have been incredibly difficult for the pot sixties he's known outdoor access no ability to exercise no. No ability to get many at the medical treatment he needs. And the cost three to four months have pain. Have has that it's become even more difficult as a result of the additional restrictions that have been placed on him. He's now unable to receive his it is doesn't have access the Internet ninth telephone cool so he's effectively cut off from the outside little to get a the only people that I able to see him up oss is his legal tame. Which is obviously a very limited. Interaction with the world. And it's stressful situation he's health is declining when trying to get him medically assessed again this week. To look at not just the impact of the cossacks he's been of these increased restrictions over the past four months. And I'm very consensual he's for his well being and the permanent damage that this is having on his health. He's been effectively in Sochi confinement for at least the last four months in and something akin to confinement of that in ancient. All my six he is an it is well documented. The impact that that has on detainees health. And you know much much more Janet Robinson's entry with ABC news on our website wheels of a full update. On the Assange case and he said things have changed with the Ecuadorian government under a new president on the checked out right now IDB's. Once the news tonight locally arsenal that gates stuff that happens today at the trial yet we're not wrapping up so he just screw that one that we got more topic two I thought were wrapping now that we're wrapping now well we can still plug words and that's where you're the Cohen group and the world it is looking only half we want more to go to Tara still with that she sweating in Jersey we have to like he. For an awfully hard Tara wall you're paying attention to the rundown on like my colleague here. Let's talk about the nature as a real quick before we leave you view this 93 days to go. Until November the president you see him out there and that minster. More and more we're seeing every second an endorsement tweet today candidate in Kansas. That's right and it's questionable if he can't it's really want to important eat an endorsement from president trump. You know a lot of people see him as almost separate from the Republican Party and they wonder if his celebrity and his influence really translates to these local politicians. In Ohio this past weekend. He would they are endorsing a candidate who is neck and neck with a Democrat. In it needed district that president went eleven. So this is really quite remarkable and some see as a sign adds you know eight waved to come the Democrats or maybe it's just that president comes political Sox really can't be shared. Yeah I mean that that's going to be sunny raced me watching that tonight terror in the meantime we've all been reporting and tracking here it certainly seems like your from the last week but. It appears that going into the fall. We're gonna feel like its president from Kennedy trumped by 2016. Increasing. His travels to several times a week. That's right I mean this past week. He was in Florida you know about moving and you and I three state city one but their republic really up against some really tough races right now. It's like to see white getting out there the question it doesn't really help. Well it certainly helps him he definitely wants to be out there and there and we will see but Tara thank you very much. On the appreciated as always. For your insights know you've been out there with president tracking him all week thank you. Coming back into the bureau yeah they had three cycle your line from earlier oh Mitch once whirled news tonight for the update on the gates' testimony we'll have that. At six there and I hear Katherine falters actually may have an update for us before you leave don't seem and that's gonna work guys. An update does a case of capital holders is getting out T from the courtroom this is extended programming them don't wrap us we're gonna hear which he has right now gates apparently just took the stand just got rolling. Catherine do we have you with us yet. Hey John actually you know they we were told that he was going to be an next on the stand that's what prosecutors. Pull it reporters in there the courtroom. Up moments ago but actually they've caught another witness before handing that it you know we still. Expect gates moment clearly but there's another witness before him so. He's not on the stand yet but we're still expecting them to college and Sodexo location and a little pat so Stabenow. And our armed. I trust you on this by. It is you know getting close to 4 o'clock this judge has been pretty good about call on it. 515. Have we ever really seen a witness just do a quick interview and get done because. And I'm not buying and I gotta be honest with. I know I know now what Barack kind of thinking nine you know he's been spotted and now we're told he's still coming but you're Friday it no not this Lee and especially. One that's of this as significance and in mourning this if the judge rounds when he has been which is not five or 530 but more like five then I'm looking at the time now 340 and they just on eyewitness that hasn't given much time now of course that probably expect them. Back tomorrow in the cross examination by the defense I can't imagine that all happens in one day so it is getting a little bit late they talk. If it it while it means more than anything Katherine packed your sneakers and actor bottled water for tomorrow could don't think it's gonna be really fun an umbrella attitude but. Umbrella tip BS don't forget that does bring a whole bag anyway after fathers in the team wanton assault in eastern district Virginia appreciated as always you can catch. The latest on the pole manna for trial we're watching it all they we will have the latest. At abcnews.com. And thank you for watching you ready perhaps see your doctor Justin official I'm Johnson GG nation to download the ABC news app for all the latest any time all day. You're watching. ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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