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Trump denies he knew of son’s meeting with Kremlin lawyer as claimed by former aide

US President Donald Trump on Friday denied he had advance knowledge of a meeting his son and members of his campaign team had with a Russian lawyer with links to Kremlin in June 2016 at Trump Tower, as reportedly claimed by his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

world Updated: Jul 28, 2018 10:08 IST
HT Correspondent, Washington
Donald Trump,Kremlin,Trump Tower
US President Donald Trump accused his former lawyer Michael Cohen of making up stories about his son and campaign team’s meeting with a Kremlin lawyer.(Reuters)

US President Donald Trump on Friday denied he had advance knowledge of a meeting his son and members of his campaign team had with a Russian lawyer with links to Kremlin in June 2016 at Trump Tower, as reportedly claimed by his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

“I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr,” the President wrote on Twitter. “Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?.” That’s a reference to Cohen’s taxi-cab business in New York which is facing trouble.

Citing sources, CNN reported on Thursday that Cohen was willing to tell special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, that candidate Trump knew in advance of the meeting and had approved it. NBC news later reported it had independently verified that account as true.

Cohen was in the room when Trump was told of it.

If true, this bombshell claim by Cohen could bring all sorts of trouble to the president, his son and lawyers who have said Trump did not know of the meeting. The president has said he became aware of it in only in 2017, after it was first reported by The New York Times.

Donald Trump Jr, accompanied by his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then campaign chairman Paul Manafort, had in June 2016 met a group of people including the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had offered politically sensitive information about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate.

Cohen is not reported to have any evidence to back up this claim. No recordings such as the one he made of a phone call with Trump in which they had discussed payments to be made to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who has said she had an affair with Trump. The US president has denied the affair and earlier claimed he had no knowledge of the payment.

Rudy Giuliani, the President’s lawyer, called Cohen a liar and said he has a credibility problem. “He has been lying all week, he’s been lying for years,” Giuliani said on CNN. “I don’t see how he’s got any credibility.”

First Published: Jul 27, 2018 21:41 IST