Legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein said on Friday that it would be “very, very damaging” for President Trump if he knew about his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower before it happened.
Bernstein reported on Thursday that Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen says Trump approved the June 2016 meeting between the Russians and his campaign officials.
“It would be a stunning development if the president of the United States — then about to become the nominee of his party — knew of that meeting in advance because the meeting itself that did take place suggests a kind of collusion in the sense that those present expected to receive information from the Russian participants,” Bernstein said.
“If the president knew about this in advance, it is a very, very damaging piece of information, especially while he and his campaign are under investigation by the special prosecutor,” he added.
The Hill added:
The June 9 meeting at Trump Tower was set up by Donald Trump Jr. after a Russian lawyer promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort attended the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Trump Jr. was told by music producer Rob Goldstone, who arranged the meeting, that a Russian lawyer who was poised to offer information that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”
Trump wrote on Twitter Friday that he “did NOT know” that the meeting was taking place, accusing Cohen of making up the story.
“And so the Fake News doesn’t waste my time with dumb questions, NO, I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr,” Trump tweeted.
Bernstein suggested that either Trump or Cohen could be lying, adding that although Cohen is looking for a “get out of jail free card” by cooperating with federal investigators, Trump often finds “wiggle room” when it comes to the truth.
“Sometimes he’s been truthful about some matters, but he also sometimes finds some wiggle room,” Bernstein said. “Whether any wiggle room is possible here in the two versions, I have no idea.”