President Donld Trump told special counsel Robert Mueller in writing last week that he did not know about his son’s infamous June 2016 meeting with Russians before it occurred and that he was not informed by his longtime confidant, Roger Stone, that WikiLeaks planned to release information damaging to the Clinton campaign, CNN is reporting.
The report relied on “two sources familiar with the matter,” according to CNN.
Trump submitted the answers on Nov. 20, after months of tense negotiations with Mueller’s team over the scope of the questions. Trump’s lawyers fought to exclude questions about possible obstruction of justice over the firing of James Comey as FBI director.
They also opposed a sit-down interview with prosecutors, fighting instead for responses provided in writing.
The Trump Tower meeting and WikiLeaks email dumps have been a central focus of Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
Donald Trump Jr. met with a group of Russians on June 9, 2016 after an associate contactied him offering information on Hillary Clinton.
“If it is what you say I love it,” Trump Jr. responded to the associate, a music publicist who worked for Emin Agalarov, the son of Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov.
Trump Jr. and Trump have both stated publicly that Trump was not aware of the meeting before it occurred.
Democrats have claimed that the meeting was an attempt by the campaign to collude with Russia. But Trump Jr. and members of the Russian delegation have asserted that nothing came of the meeting.
They’ve said that the Russian lawyer who led the meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, failed to produce any information on Clinton. They also said she also used Clinton dirt as a pretext to discuss rolling back the Magnitsky Act, a sanctions law vehemently opposed by the Kremlin.
Veseltnitskaya at the time also was working on a Magnitsky-related project with Fusion GPS, the Democrat-funded opposition research firm that commissioned the infamous Steele dossier.
Whether Stone told Trump or others on the campaign about WikiLeaks plans to release emails has been a major part of the investigation.
Prosecutors want to know whether the Trump campaign directed or had prior knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans to release emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Stone is under investigation because of some of his public comments that showed he had some insight into WikiLeaks’ activities. But the longtime GOP operative has insisted he had no contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that he did not know that Podesta’s emails had been stolen until WikiLeaks released them on Oct. 7, 2016.
Stone claims that he received some tips about WikiLeaks’ plans from Randy Credico, a left-wing activist who claimed to be close friends with a lawyer for WikiLeaks. Credico has denied being Stone’s conduit, but Stone released text messages on Nov. 14 that showed that Credico provided him with insight into the significance and timing of WikiLeaks’ releases.
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