President Donald Trump claimed again on Monday that “most politicians” would have attended the highly scrutinized meeting his son had with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the presidential campaign last year.
As he said last week at a news conference in Paris, Trump said on Twitter on Monday morning that “most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent.”
“That’s politics!” he wrote.
The June 2016 meeting, which Donald Trump Jr. agreed to organize after he was told that a representative of the Russian government would provide the campaign with dirt on Hillary Clinton, has become a focal point of ongoing scrutiny into the president’s campaign’s relationship with Russia. Trump’s son in law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and his then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, also attended.
Trump Jr. insists that nothing substantive came of the meeting and has similarly defended it as an attempt to gather routine opposition research. The president has said he was not aware that it took place until very recently.
A special counsel is probing whether any Trump associates participated in the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in the presidential election, including the cyberattacks targeting Democratic Party officials; the White House has repeatedly denied any improper conduct.
Some critics of the president have likened the meeting to proof that the campaign was at least open to colluding with the Russians. After news reports detailed the meeting last week, Trump Jr. released an email chain showing that he had responded to the suggestion of a Kremlin-led effort to help his father’s campaign by saying “I love it.”
Opposition researchers from both parties have contested Trump’s claim that such activity is common or accepted practice. Campaigns and political parties regularly seek out unflattering or compromising news stories about their opponents, but experts said last week that accepting help from an adversarial foreign government is rare and a cause for concern.