Trump admits collusion happened, defends 2016 meeting between son and Russia

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BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Trump on Sunday offered his most definitive and clear public acknowledgment that his oldest son met with a Kremlin-aligned lawyer at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign to “get information on an opponent,” defending the meeting as “totally legal and done all the time in politics.”

It is, however, against the law for U.S. campaigns to receive donations or items of value from foreigners, and that June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Natalia Veselnitskaya is now a subject of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation.

While “collusion” is not mentioned in U.S. criminal statutes, Mueller is investigating whether anyone associated with Trump coordinated with the Russians, which could result in criminal charges if they entered into a conspiracy to break the law, including through cyberhacking or interfering with the election.

“Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower,” the president wrote in one of several early-morning tweets Sunday, many of which took aim at the news media. “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics — and it went nowhere.”

He concluded by further distancing himself from the meeting his son arranged, writing, “I did not know about it!”

Trump was responding to a Washington Post report this weekend that although he does not think his eldest son intentionally broke the law, he is worried that Trump Jr. may have unintentionally stumbled into legal jeopardy and is embroiled in Mueller’s investigation largely because of his connection to the president.