CNN analyst Carl Bernstein said Friday it would be “very, very damaging” for President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth 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.
“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.Don TrumpCourt orders release of some redacted passages of Mueller report How Trump uses fundraising emails to remain undisputed leader of the GOP Donald Trump Jr. joins Cameo MORE after a Russian lawyer promised dirt on Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Yellen should utilize the resources available before pushing new regulations Huawei paid Tony Podesta 0K for White House lobbying 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.”