Rudy Giuliani on Sunday acknowledged that the original purpose of a meeting at Trump Tower between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer was to gather information on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAttorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports MORE, but denied that it amounted to attempted collusion.
"The meeting was originally for the purpose of getting information about Clinton," Giuliani, who is Trump's lead attorney in the Russia investigation, said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"Which in itself is attempted collusion," anchor Chuck Todd interjected.
"No, no. That was the original intention of the meeting, it turned out to be a meeting about another subject and it was not pursued at all," Giuliani responded. "And of course any meeting with regards to getting information on your opponent is something any candidate’s staff would take."
Giuliani suggested that Donald Trump Jr.Don TrumpHow Trump uses fundraising emails to remain undisputed leader of the GOP Donald Trump Jr. joins Cameo Book claims Trump family members were 'inappropriately' close with Secret Service agents MORE and other members of Trump's campaign who attended the meeting may not have known Natalia Veselnitskaya was Russian prior to the meeting because "all they had was her name."
"All they knew is that a woman with a Russian name wanted to meet with them," Giuliani said. "This is much ado about nothing."
"If this is their case for collusion, good luck Mueller," he added, referring to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE.
An email to Trump Jr., however, said the meeting was “part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump.”
Giuliani's comments come two weeks after President Trump himself confirmed that the Trump Tower meeting in July 2016 was meant to get information on his then-Democratic opponent.
"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!" Trump tweeted.
The comments contradict an initial explanation that the meeting was about Russian adoption policy.
“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.
The Trump Tower meeting has become a flashpoint in Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, as the president and his allies have frequently changed their stories to explain the purpose of the meeting.
The president on Sunday once again lashed out at special counsel Robert Mueller, saying he should investigate Clinton and that he makes former Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) of the 1950s "look like a baby."
The president has repeatedly called Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.” He has in recent days accused Mueller of conflict of interest, though he has not elaborated.
—This report was updated at 10:54 a.m.