President Trump’s latest explanation for the June 2016 campaign meeting with Russians at Trump Tower: It was to obtain dirt on his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and that’s “totally legal and done all the time in politics.”
The president’s Sunday morning tweet marked a new twist in an account that has zigged and zagged since The New York Times first reported on the meeting last year.
The meeting and the administration’s response are a focus of the inquiry by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. That inquiry is no doubt complicated by the constantly shifting explanations from nearly everyone involved. Here’s a breakdown.
How the Trump team’s story of
the meeting changed over time:
When first asked about the meeting, Donald Trump Jr. issued a statement saying the meeting was primarily about the adoption of Russian children.
Then, to see someone who ‘might have information helpful to the campaign.’July 9, 2017
After The Times informed Donald Trump Jr. that it was preparing an article that would say the meeting also involved a discussion of potentially compromising material on Mrs. Clinton, he issued another statement flicking at that possibility.
Mr. Trump defended the meeting in a tweet, saying “Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!” About a week earlier, emails between Donald Trump Jr. and Rob Goldstone, a British music producer and publicist who helped broker the gathering, had come to light. Those emails made it clear that the meeting was to provide the Trump campaign with damaging information…