Giuliani: Trump Tower meeting was ‘originally for the purpose of getting information about Clinton’
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 Clinton, 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. 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 Mueller.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 19, 2018
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.