U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday argued that most people would have had the meeting that his son attended with a Kremlin-linked lawyer promising incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.
“My son is a wonderful young man. He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer, not a government lawyer, but a Russian lawyer. It was a short meeting. It was a meeting that went very, very quickly — very fast — two of the people in the room, one of them left almost immediately and the other was not really focused on the meeting. I do think this from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting, it’s called opposition research or even research into your opponent,” Trump said at a press briefing in Paris.
The New York Timesreported on the weekend about the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-linked lawyer who reportedly promised information about Clinton.
Trump’s then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner also reportedly attended the meeting.
Trump Jr. on Tuesday released the entire email chain of the conversations which led to the meeting. The emails apparently showed he eagerly agreed to meet the woman.
It remains unclear whether Veselnitskaya actually produced the promised compromising information about Clinton, but Trump Jr. told Fox News in an interview on Tuesday that the meeting with the lawyer was "a nothing".
"I wouldn’t have even remembered it until you started scouring through this stuff. It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame," he added.
Trump said in Thursday’s press conference that he had been offered plenty of opposition research on his opponents and that it was standard operating procedure in politics.