WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Tuesday that U.S. President Donald Trump had a role in producing a statement in which his son denied that a meeting he had with a Russian lawyer was related to the 2016 presidential campaign, comments later shown to be misleading.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told a briefing that Trump "certainly didn't dictate (the statement), but ... he weighed in, offered a suggestion like any father would do."
"The statement that was issued was true and there were no inaccuracies in the statement," Sanders said, even though emails later released by Donald Trump Jr. showed that the subject of the meeting was to be possible damaging information about Republican Trump's rival for the presidency, Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that Trump's advisers discussed the statement about the meeting and agreed that Trump Jr. should issue a truthful account of the episode so that it "couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged."
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But the president, who was flying home from Germany on July 8, changed the plan and "personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said he and the Russian lawyer had 'primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children,'" the Post said, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the deliberations.
Trump Jr. released emails in July that showed he eagerly agreed last year to meet a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Clinton as part of Moscow's official support for his father. The New York Times was first to report the meeting at Trump Tower in New York.
(This version of the story has been refiled to add dropped "a" in quote in paragraph 2)
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)