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In Latest Sign That Trump Team Has Given Up on Denying Collusion, Giuliani Admits Purpose of Trump Tower Meeting

The president's lawyer's comments came weeks after Trump himself tweeted that his campaign staff made an attempt to gather information from a Kremlin-linked lawyer about Hillary Clinton

Julia Conley

Rudy Giuliani doubled down on President Donald Trump's earlier statement that members of Trump's campaign did, in fact, meet with a Kremlin-linked lawyer in the hopes of obtaining negative information about Hillary Clinton in 2016. (Photo: @MeetThePress/Twitter)

In an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Rudy Giuliani supplied the latest evidence that President Donald Trump and his legal team are abandoning their efforts to claim that a meeting the president's son had with a Russian lawyer in 2016 was not held for the purposes of gathering opposition research on Hillary Clinton from a foreign power.

"The meeting was originally for the purpose of getting information about Clinton," the president's lawyer said.

"Which in itself is attempted collusion," host Chuck Todd interjected, to which Giuliani scoffed. "You just said it. The meeting was intended to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Kremlin lawyer. That was the intention of the meeting."

Watch:

Giuliani's statements indicated that the Trump team is now leaning on their claims that advisers Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner, former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and other officials who met with Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, did not know the meeting had been scheduled on behalf of the Russian government.

Email correspondence between Trump, Jr. and Rob Goldstone, a publicist who helped to arrange the meeting, showed that the content that was to be shared was "very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump" and "would be very useful to your father."

The interview came weeks after Trump himself tweeted that the meeting was a "totally legal" attempt to get information about Clinton—a claim that numerous legal experts immediately dismissed.

In the same interview, Giuliani told Todd that he does not want the president to rush to testify to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team for fear that he'll be "trapped into perjury."

"When you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he's going to tell the truth and he shouldn't worry, well that's so silly because it's somebody's version of the truth. Not the truth," Giuliani told Todd.

"Truth is truth," Todd responded.

"No, it isn't truth. Truth isn't truth," the former New York mayor said, suggesting that it isn't possible for the Mueller probe to determine whether the president's campaign colluded with Russia and whether Trump has obstructed justice.

The exchange drew condemnation on Twitter—but Inside Higher Ed columnist John Warner warned that the Trump legal team will likely see no consequences for changing their long-held narrative and essentially admitting to attempted collusion, and issued a reminder that voters likely have a greater capacity to end the Trump presidency than Mueller's probe.


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