Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating President Donald Trump’s role in drafting his son Donald Trump Jr’s response to revelations about a meeting with a Russian lawyer.
Mueller’s investigators have been probing the president’s role in his son’s July 8 statement that ‘not told the name of the person’ he was meeting, a statement that was later undermined, according to ‘three sources familiar with the matter’ cited by NBC News.
The investigators want to know what the president knew about the meeting and whether he sought to conceal its purpose, the sources said.
The meeting came to light in July, when Trump Jr initially tried to downplay it before it emerged that he had been offered incriminating information about Hillary Clinton by a Russian lawyer, which never materialized.
Special counsel Robert Mueller (pictured) is reportedly investigating President Trump’s role in drafting his son’s response to revelations about a meeting with a Russian lawyer
Donald Trump Jr (above) met with a Russian lawyer last summer who offered incriminating info on Hillary Clinton, but his initial statement about the meeting said it was about adoption
The meeting occurred last summer in Trump Tower. Present were Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, who met with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya and former Soviet intelligence officer Rinat Akhmetshin.
Trump Jr reportedly drafted his initial response to revelations of the meeting on board Air Force One.
It said in part: ‘We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up.’
It later emerged that opposition research on Clinton was a main topic of the meeting.
At the time, President Trump was reported to have had a close role in crafting his son’s response. His spokesmen have later said his role was minimal.
The meeting itself has not been clearly tied to any crime, and concealing its purpose in public statements is unlikely to break any laws.
The meeting is not believed to be tied to any criminal act, nor is Trump Jr’s statement. Prosecutors could be looking at the incident as ‘character’ evidence. Pictured: President Trump speaks at a joint press conference at the White House on Monday
However, NBC’s sources say that investigators could be interested in the incident as evidence of the president’s character, in support of separate criminal charges.
‘Even if Trump is not charged with a crime as a result of the statement, it could be useful to Mueller’s team to show Trump’s conduct to a jury that may be considering other charges,’ the person said.
The president’s attorney, Ty Cobb, dismissed the notion that there was any criminal act associated with the statement, and defended the statement as true.
The statement ‘was not a bible of events leading up to and after the meeting, but it was not untruthful,’ he told NBC, pointing to the additional details that Donald Trump Jr and his attorney have since made public.
‘It was a simple response to a short request,’ said Cobb, and the president’s role in crafting the statement was ‘minimal.’