Litman:Trump’s candidacy complicates a potential criminal case against him, but it can’t protect him from Mueller probe
Donald Trump Jr. has faced a whirlwind of questions in connection with a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer organized by his father, President Donald Trump.
In the months since, his role in last year’s campaign, in which he was a top bundler, has been questioned.
His meeting with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, has become a focus of the Mueller investigation, which is looking into any links between Russia and the Trump campaign.
CNN reported Tuesday that Trump Jr.’s attorney, Michael Cohen, told investigators that the president directed him to make the meeting public. Cohen, a key figure in the Trump Tower negotiations, has claimed he didn’t have a hand in the decision to make the meeting public.
The meeting is at the center of the Justice Department investigation into Russian electoral interference. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is probing whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.
Cohen also has suggested Trump directed him to lie to Congress about the meeting. His testimony last month before the House Oversight Committee set off a firestorm in Washington and prompted some House Republicans to introduce articles of impeachment.
He’s also at the center of an obstruction of justice accusation against Trump.
Trump has denied knowing of the meeting ahead of time and called Cohen a liar.
“There is NO COLLUSION,” Trump said in a Twitter message Tuesday.
Trump Jr. in his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee said his father knew of the meeting before it took place, but did not offer any details about the specifics of the meeting or what he said he was told. He said the meeting occurred around July 5, 2016 at a restaurant in Trump Tower in Manhattan, according to The New York Times. Trump Jr. said he did not recall if he told his father about the meeting or about it being a campaign issue.
Veselnitskaya did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
The FBI launched its Russia counterintelligence investigation in late July after receiving a series of startling reports from American citizens and organizations about contacts between Russians and Trump campaign officials. The bureau later acknowledged that investigators interviewed Veselnitskaya in late July.
According to CNN, the FBI’s counterintelligence probe is still active, though it no longer mentions Russian