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Trump confirms meeting was meant to gather information on Clinton
President Trump on Sunday pushed back against reporting that he's concerned that his son Donald Trump Jr. may be implicated in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation in a tweet that confirmed a meeting in Trump Tower was meant to gather information on Hillary Clinton.
"Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower," the president tweeted.
"This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!" he added, defending the meeting that has become a flashpoint in Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
The president's explicit acknowledgement that the meeting was held in order to gather information on his Democratic opponent stands in direct contrast with what his son has previously said about the content of the meeting.
"We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago," read a statement last year by Trump Jr., which was dictated by the president.
Trump Jr. also published emails about the meeting a year later to pre-empt a New York Times report on the matter. He has downplayed the meeting, describing it as a "waste of time" and saying it was about Russian adoption policy related to American sanctions.
The president's tweet on Sunday appeared to be referring to CNN and Washington Post stories published Saturday, both of which reported that he is becoming increasingly anxious about his son's legal fate.
One adviser told the Post that the president does not believe his son intentionally broke the law, but that he may inadvertently end up in Mueller's crosshairs.
CNN reported, citing a source who speaks with the president often, that he has ratcheted up his attacks on Mueller in recent weeks over concerns the investigation may reach his family.
Moments after his tweet defending his son, Trump issued two more tweets attacking the Mueller investigation. He reprised his most common criticisms, calling investigators "17 angry Democrats," and questioning why they aren't investigating the FBI or Department of Justice.
Trump Jr. has been under scrutiny for meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in the summer of 2016 after she promised damaging information on Clinton.
The meeting is receiving renewed attention after the president's former longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, reportedly said Trump knew of the meeting before it happened. The president has denied knowing about the meeting, even as the explanation surrounding it has shifted.
Jay Sekulow, one of Trump's attorneys, downplayed the tweet on ABC's "This Week," suggesting nothing about the tweet or the Trump Tower meeting suggests anything illegal took place.
"When you look at a meeting ... now two years ago, the question is what law, statute or rule or regulation's been violated?" Sekulow said. "Nobody's pointed to one."
Host George Stephanopoulos noted that the meeting could result in charges of aiding and abetting conspiracy to defraud the United States.
- This report was updated on Aug. 6 at 6:05 a.m.