Donald Trump involved with son's statement about Russian meeting

  • 02/08/2017
Trump Russian statement
Emails released by Trump Jr showed the subject of the meeting was possible damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Photo credit: Getty

The White House says US President Donald Trump had a role in producing a statement in which his son denied that a meeting he had with a Russian lawyer was related to the 2016 presidential campaign.

The comments were later shown to be misleading.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told a briefing on Wednesday (NZT) that Mr Trump "certainly didn't dictate [the statement], but he weighed in, offered a suggestion like any father would do”.

"The statement issued was true and there were no inaccuracies," Ms Sanders said, despite emails later released by Donald Trump Jr showing the subject of the meeting was to be possible damaging information about Mr Trump's rival for the presidency, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Mr Trump's advisers discussed the statement about the meeting and agreed that Mr Trump Jr should issue a truthful account of the episode so that it "couldn't be repudiated later if the full details emerged".

But the president, who was flying home from Germany on July 8, changed the plan and "personally dictated a statement in which Mr Trump Jr said he and the Russian lawyer had 'primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children'", the Washington Post said, citing unnamed people with knowledge of the deliberations.

Mr Trump Jr released emails in July that showed he eagerly agreed last year to meet a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Ms Clinton as part of Moscow's official support for his father.