President Trump said on Sunday that a Trump Tower meeting between top campaign aides and a Kremlin-connected lawyer was designed to “get information on an opponent” — the starkest acknowledgment yet that a statement he dictated last year about the encounter was misleading.
Mr. Trump made the comment in a tweet on Sunday morning that was intended to be a defense of the June 2016 meeting and the role his son Donald Trump Jr. played in hosting it. The president claimed that it was “totally legal” and of the sort “done all the time in politics.”
But the tweet also served as an admission that the Trump team had not been forthright when Donald Trump Jr. issued a statement in July 2017 saying that the meeting had been primarily about the adoption of Russian children.
.. It is illegal for a campaign to accept help from a foreign individual or government. The president and his son have maintained that the campaign did not ultimately receive any damaging materials about Mrs. Clinton as a result of the meeting. But some legal experts contend that by simply sitting for the meeting, Donald Trump Jr. broke the law.
.. After the meeting was revealed, Mr. Trump posted a tweet similar to the one he wrote on Sunday morning: “Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!” But his administration at the time was sticking to the adoption story line, with his press secretary, Sean Spicer, saying later that day that there was no evidence that anything but that topic had been discussed during the meeting.
.. Numerous White House aides and lawyers for the president aggressively denied at the time that the president had been involved in drafting the misleading statement. Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s lawyers, said in 2017 that “the president was not involved in the drafting of that statement.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the current press secretary, insisted that the president “certainly didn’t dictate” the statement.
.. But The Post reported in July 2017 that Mr. Trump had in fact done so. And earlier this year, Mr. Trump’s lawyers acknowledged in a memo to Mr. Mueller that the president had dictated the statement.
On Sunday, Mr. Sekulow admitted that his earlier statement had been erroneous, saying on ABC News’s “This Week” that “I had bad information at that time and made a mistake in my statement.”
.. Mr. Mueller’s investigators have told Mr. Trump’s lawyers that they want to ask him what he knew about the Trump Tower meeting at the time. The president believes that by answering the investigators’ questions, he can explain to Mr. Mueller that he and his campaign did nothing wrong, and bring an end to the investigation.
.. Mr. Sekulow echoed the president in the interview on Sunday. Asked about the Trump Tower meeting, he repeatedly steered his answers back to attacks on Mr. Mueller’s investigation.
“Let’s be honest with the American people, there are irregularities in this investigation the likes of which we have not seen,” Mr. Sekulow said, mimicking one of the president’s favorite phrases.