White House counselor Kellyanne Conway denied Monday morning that there was evidence of collusion between Donald Trump Jr. and Russia officials, amid reports that the oldest Trump son met with a Kremlin-tied lawyer in search of compromising information on Hillary Clinton.
"No information was received that was meaningful or helpful and no action was taken," Conway told "Good Morning America" on Monday.
Conway was pressed by George Stephanopoulos on why Donald Trump Jr. agreed to meet with lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya under the premise of learning new information on Clinton from the Kremlin.
"Are you saying there’s evidence of collusion? Because everybody is trying to convert wishful thinking into hard evidence and haven’t been able to do that," Conway said.
Donald Trump Jr. confirmed on Sunday he met last year with Veselnitskaya, along with some members of the Trump campaign, where they had at least briefly discussed the presidential race and Clinton.
The president’s oldest son first claimed the meeting was solely about a program for the adoption of Russian children, but went on to say after subsequent reporting that an acquaintance from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant had asked him to meet “with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign.”
The New York Times first reported Donald Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya had met, along with senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who at the time held the role of campaign chairman.
"Don Jr. was not aware of the lawyer’s name before he got there and that the conversation quickly changed to what seemed to be the entire purpose of the meeting for that woman, which was Russian adoption. No information was received that was meaningful or helpful and no action was taken," Conway said.
Stephanopoulos also questioned why the meeting was not originally mentioned in White House disclosure forms, to which Conway responded by noting such forms had since been amended to reflect the meeting.
"As I understand it, George, people’s disclosure statements have been amended to reflect meetings such as this. And Don Jr. came forth this weekend and gave more information about the meeting," she said.
Conway noted Donald Trump Jr. did not seek out the meeting and said there are "many different meetings" during a campaign.
"Some of them are unhelpful and not particularly meaningful," she said.
Conway told Stephanopoulos when she became campaign manager, no one turned over intelligence on Clinton. Instead, she said, it was the Obama White House, not the Trump administration, that failed to act accordingly on information alleging Russian influence.
"Look, the only information, the only people who had information about Russia meddling, in say, summer of 2016 did not work in the Trump campaign, they worked in the Obama White House," Conway said. "They were briefed, according to The Washington Post, about this kind of information and did absolutely nothing, because they never thought Donald Trump would win."
Asked about the reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday the Kremlin was unaware of a meeting between Trump senior staff and a Russian lawyer.
The Associated Press reports Peskov said the Kremlin does not know who the lawyer is and added that the Kremlin "cannot keep track" of every Russian lawyer and their meetings in Russia or abroad.