A lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump has defended Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer previous year during which the president's son had hoped to obtain damaging information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
The meeting is the clearest indication yet that the Trump campaign may have colluded with Russian Federation to influence last year's election, a possibility that is the subject of multiple investigations.
Trump himself has said he was unaware of the meeting until a few days ago.
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Akhmetshin, who holds dual US-Russian citizenship, said that the lawyer initially sought his advice on what to say at the meeting before finally asking him to join her for the discussion with the oldest son of then-candidate Donald Trump.
Trump presumably is conflating the meeting with the Russian lawyer to opposition research-something that is routinely done during campaigns. In an email setting the meeting up, a friend of the Trumps said the information was part of a wider Russian government effort to help Trump. "Again, this is before the Russian Federation mania - this is before they were building this up in the press". Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence committee, who said on CNN's State of the Union that such a claim seems questionable.
"There's nothing illegal about that meeting", he later added.
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Asked whether the campaign is allowed to pay for Trump, Jr.'s legal fees if that turns out to be the case, former FEC general counsel Lawrence Noble, a CNN contributor, said: "They can pay for his legal expenses if it arises out of the campaign".
"I think the president used the term "recently" or 'relatively recently, '" Sekulow said.
Conway also maintained that Clinton is "one of the only people" who firmly believes in collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russian government. Within 20 minutes, Trump Jr. replied, "If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer".
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Rinat Akhmetshin confirmed his participation to reporters.