Carl Bernstein: It would be 'very, very damaging' for Trump if he knew about Trump Tower meeting beforehand

CNN analyst Carl Bernstein said Friday it would be “very, very damaging” for President TrumpDonald John TrumpNYT publisher: US didn't step in to protect reporter from arrest in Egypt so paper turned to Ireland Trump instructed administration to withhold military aid for Ukraine days before call with president: report More Democrats threaten impeachment over Trump's dealings with Ukraine MORE if he knew about his son’s meeting with Russians in Trump Tower before it happened.

Bernstein, the former Washington Post reporter who broke the Watergate story, reported on Thursday that Trump’s former longtime attorney Michael Cohen says Trump had prior knowledge about the June 2016 meeting between his campaign officials and Russians.

“It would be a stunning development if the president of the United States — then about to become the nominee of his party — knew of that meeting in advance because the meeting itself that did take place suggests a kind of collusion in the sense that those present expected to receive information from the Russian participants,” Bernstein said.

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“If the president knew about this in advance, it is a very, very damaging piece of information, especially while he and his campaign are under investigation by the special prosecutor,” he added.

The June 9 meeting at Trump Tower was set up by Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpSchiff introduces bill to require agencies report spending at Trump properties Democrats introduce bill to block taxpayer-funded spending at Trump properties Trump dismisses NYT explanation on Kavanaugh correction MORE after a Russian lawyer promised dirt on Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump mocks Romney with video contrasting their presidential bids Whistleblower fuels impeachment talk Let's get real: Democrats were first to enlist Ukraine in US elections MORE. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortLet's get real: Democrats were first to enlist Ukraine in US elections Graham: Trump should be 'as transparent as possible' about Ukraine call Ukraine could badly damage both Donald Trump and the Democrats MORE attended the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. 

Trump Jr. was told by music producer Rob Goldstone, who arranged the meeting, that a Russian lawyer  was poised to offer information that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”

Trump has said he had no knowledge that the meeting was taking place, and in a series of Friday morning tweets accused Cohen of making up the story.

"And so the Fake News doesn’t waste my time with dumb questions, NO, I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr," Trump wrote on Friday.

Bernstein suggested that either Trump or Cohen could be lying.

Although Cohen is looking for a “get out of jail free card” by cooperating with special counsel investigators, Bernstein noted that Trump often finds “wiggle room” when it comes to the truth.

“Sometimes he’s been truthful about some matters, but he also sometimes finds some wiggle room,” Bernstein said. “Whether any wiggle room is possible here in the two versions, I have no idea.”