Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators is allegedly focusing in on President Trump’s role in crafting a response to a published article about a meeting at Trump Tower between his son Donald Jr. and Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
According to the Monday report, investigators are trying to determine what Trump knew about the meeting and whether he tried to conceal its purpose.
His son-in-law Jared Kushner, his son Donald Trump Jr. and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort were all in attendance at the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016.
“Even if Trump is not charged with a crime as a result of the statement, it could be useful to Mueller’s team to show Trump’s conduct to a jury that may be considering other charges,” a source told NBC.
According to NBC News:
At the time, the White House confirmed that Trump had “weighed in” as the response to the Times report was drafted aboard Air Force One on July 8 as the president returned to the U.S. from Germany. The Washington Post reported that Trump had “dictated” the response.
The initial response by Donald Trump Jr. that was drafted aboard Air Force One described the 2016 meeting as “a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up.”
According to The Times, he added: “I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.
A person familiar with Mueller’s strategy told NBC News that whether or not Trump made a “knowingly false statement” is now of interest to prosecutors.
“Even if Trump is not charged with a crime as a result of the statement, it could be useful to Mueller’s team to show Trump’s conduct to a jury that may be considering other charges.”