President Trump took to Twitter Friday morning to deny that he knew about his son’s meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016, following news that his longtime attorney Michael Cohen is willing to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that the presidential candidate knew about the meeting in advance.
CBS News’ Paula Reid confirmed Friday night that Cohen is willing to tell Mueller that Mr. Trump knew of the meeting involving Donald Trump Jr., top campaign officials and a Russian lawyer in advance, although Cohen has no evidence to offer that corroborates his claim.
Trump Jr., Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and onetime-campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya in Trump Tower in a meeting Trump Jr. arranged when he believed the Russian lawyer had damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Veselnitskaya worked more closely with senior Russian government officials than she previously let on, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.
In July 2017, when the New York Times first reported the 2016 meeting, the president said he learned about the meeting "two or three days ago," meaning in 2017.
Cohen, who is under federal investigation for his business dealings and involvement in payments to women on behalf of Mr. Trump, has been under immense pressure to cooperate with federal investigators in the separate Mueller probe.
"I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr. Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer. Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!" the president tweeted Friday morning.
Mr. Trump could be referring to May reports that Cohen’s onetime taxi cab partner is willing to cooperate with Mueller, and separately, to the fact that Lanny Davis, who worked as a special counsel for Bill Clinton, is helping represent Cohen.
…..I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr. Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer. Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2018
The facts surrounding the Trump Tower meeting have long been a point of interest.
For months last year, the president’s personal legal team and the White House press secretary said Mr. Trump did not dictate or help draft a statement in response to the Times’ reporting about the Trump Tower meeting. But in a January letter to Mueller, the president’s lawyers said the president "dictated a short but accurate response" to the report.