Trump said that he felt Putin would have preferred Hillary Clinton win last year's election - even though United States intelligence says the Russian leader directed a covert effort to help defeat the Democrat.
Trump Jr. on Tuesday morning tweeted a series of emails between himself and Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who contacted Trump Jr. and told him about an opportunity to receive potentially damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign. When The New York Times first reported on his meeting with the Russian lawyer, he said it was primarily about adoption - conveniently leaving out that the meeting was arranged as a means to obtain Russian government dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Hillary probably hacked her own emails to prevent Trump from Making America Great Again. "Had they called the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had they called the US Attorney in Manhattan and said "We're being approached by the Russians", I suspect that what would have happened is the meeting would have gone forward with the Federal Bureau of Investigation listening in and the Trump organisation wouldn't be in the position that it's in today".
"It was a 20-minute meeting, I guess, from what I'm hearing", Trump added. That could derail Trump's legislative agenda and hurt his chances of passing meaningful legislation, political experts said.
Instead, Trump was enthused, drawing Manafort and Kushner into a meeting with someone he believed to be a Russian government attorney.
Trump Jr. was referring to the takeover of a Canadian mining company by Russian Federation state-owned Rosatom.
House Democrat Brad Sherman accuses Trump of obstructing investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, in part by firing former FBI director James Comey. That's been the former KGB agent's pattern in other elections and he appears to be succeeding with the help of an inexperienced, egotistical and increasingly isolated US president who lies so frequently and so outrageously that you have to wonder if he understands the difference between reality and his alternative fact universe.
Trump Jr. seemed eager to accept whatever help Moscow could provide, and attended the meeting. The Senate intelligence committee interviews many of its witnesses behind closed doors, though it has held an unusual number of open hearings as part of the Russian Federation probe. But Trump takes things a step further here by suggesting - rather implausibly - that Putin in fact favored a President Clinton or at least didn't want a President Trump.
The upshot of this is that Kushner said something to the effect of, 'I met with a Russian national. So we need to consider the possibility that he actually didn't know about it at the time but only learned about it in recent weeks. Trump said of Putin, adding that Hillary would have "decimated" the US military, which would have been helpful to Russian Federation.
It comes as the USA conducts a highly-charged investigation into claims that Moscow intervened in the election to benefit Mr Trump as he faced Democratic rival Hillary Clinton at the polls.
Asked at his weekly news conference about Grassley's letter and whether Trump Jr. should testify, House Speaker Paul Ryan didn't object to the move.
Which makes us wonder what else they aren't saying. Looking at his French counterpart, Trump added: "You better do a good job, please".
The President said the U.S. and France face "grave threats from terrorist organizations that wage war on innocent lives", but said the countries "stand united against these enemies of humanity".