Trump learned of son’s meeting with Russian attorney in ‘last couple of days’
President Donald Trump only learned of his son’s meeting with a Russian attorney in recent days, White House principal deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, echoing the claim made by the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., over the weekend.
The answer Monday came in response to a question from ABC News’ Jonathan Karl about when the president was made aware of the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, which also included his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
"I believe in the last couple of days is my understanding," said Sanders.
First reported by the New York Times, Donald Trump Jr. confirmed that he took the meeting, in which it was claimed he would hear information about his father’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr. later said in a statement that Veselnitskaya "had no meaningful information" and that the topic of conversation shifted. He added that his father "knew nothing of the meeting or these events."
Sanders said Monday that the president was not concerned about the meeting and characterized the offer of information as not out of the ordinary for a political campaign. Asked if she was aware of other meetings with Russian officials or foreign agents, Sanders said she was not.
In her defense of the meeting, Sanders insisted Trump’s eldest son and Trump campaign officials did not collude to influence the election.
"Don Jr. did not collude with anybody to influence the election," Sanders said.
Questioned further about past transition and White House denials of any contact between the campaign and Russia in the face of the recent revelations, Sanders argued that the defense came in relation to the idea of collusion.
"I think the point is that we’ve tried to make every single time — today and then and will continue to make — in those statements is that there was simply no collusion that they keep trying to create that there was," she said Monday.