WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his eldest son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer, telling reporters that most people in politics would have done the same thing.
“I think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting,” Trump said during a joint press conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump added that collection opposition research is within the norms of modern politics.
“Politics is not the nicest business in the world,” Trump said. “It’s very standard.”
On Tuesday Donald Trump Jr. released emails detailing a conversation he had with publicist Rob Goldstone, an acquaintance who said he had access to a Russian government lawyer who had information that could aid the Trump campaign.
Goldstone explicitly cast the information as part of the Russian government’s efforts to help Trump’s candidacy.
Trump Jr. accepted the meeting with attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya and was joined by his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner — a senior adviser to the president— and campaign chair Paul Manafort.
Veselnitskaya has denied having ties to the Kremlin.
Trump’s comments Thursday are among the first he has made on the meeting since the New York times initially reported it on Sunday.
On Tuesday, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered a short statement on behalf of the president stating that Trump Jr. was a “high-quality” person and that he applauded his honesty.
During Thursday’s press conference, Trump alluded to reports that Veselnitskaya was allowed into the U.S. by former Attorney General Attorney Lynch, who served during the Obama administration.
President Trump arrived in France Thursday morning with first lady Melania Trump for a brief trip marking Bastille Day.