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Trump: "I Think Many People Would Have Held That Meeting"

Donald Trump denied that he was unaware of his son's meeting last year with a Russian lawyer at the heart of the latest White House controversy, telling Reuters he only learned of it a couple of days ago. “No, that I didn’t know until a couple of days ago when I heard about this" Trump said in a Reuters White House interview when asked if he knew that his son was meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June last year.

The president also said he did not fault his son for holding the meeting. "I think many people would have held that meeting" he said in his first "extensive, in-person reaction to the meeting, which has sent shockwaves through the White House."

On Tuesday night, Trump Jr. said in an interview with Sean Hannity that he might have handled the encounter differently but said he did nothing wrong. He offered to testify under oath before Congress to that effect.  The president praised his son’s performance in a Wednesday morning tweet.

“My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!” Trump tweeted.

In Wednesday's interview, Trump also said he directly asked Russian President Vladimir Putin if he was involved in what U.S. intelligence says was Russian meddling in the presidential campaign and that Putin had insisted he was not.

Trump said he spent the first 20 or 25 minutes of his more than two-hour meeting with Putin last Friday in Germany on the election meddling subject.

"I said, did you do it? And he said no, I did not. Absolutely not. I then asked him a second time in a totally different way. He said absolutely not," Trump said.

That may now be irrelevant: as discussed earlier, based on a report from the WSJ, Trump Jr's email has given investigators just the excuse to delve into every and any NSA intercept, from as far back as you want to go, in hopes of finding yet another, this time impeachable "smoking gun", one which does not have to do with Russia. Ironically, it may be Trump's alleged aversion to communicating by email that has prevented one from emerging already.