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Old 08-01-2017, 01:15 PM   #1
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Trump dictated sonís misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer

On the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Germany last month,*President Trumpís advisers discussed how to respond to a new revelation*that Trumpís oldest son had met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign ó a disclosure the advisers knew carried political and potentially legal peril.*
The strategy, the advisers agreed, should be for Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldnít be repudiated later if the full details emerged.

But within hours, at the presidentís direction, the plan changed.

Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had ďprimarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian childrenĒ when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared an article, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was ďnot a campaign issue at the time.Ē

The claims were later shown to be misleading.

Over the next three days, multiple accounts of the meeting were provided to the news media as public pressure mounted, with Trump Jr. ultimately acknowledging that he had accepted the meeting after*receiving an email promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help his fatherís campaign.

The extent of the presidentís personal intervention in his sonís response,*the details of which have not previously been reported,*adds to a series of actions that Trump has taken that some advisers fear could place him and some members of his inner circle in legal jeopardy.

As special counsel Robert S. Mueller III looks into potential obstruction of justice as part of his broader investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, these advisers worry that the presidentís direct involvement leaves him needlessly vulnerable to allegations of a coverup.

ďThis was . . . unnecessary,Ē said one of the presidentís advisers, who like most other people interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. ďNow someone can claim heís the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesnít want you to say the whole truth.Ē

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