President Donald Trump continued to downplay the controversy surrounding his eldest son on Thursday saying that “nothing happened” in Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the U.S. presidential campaign. Speaking at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump insisted that “most people would have taken that meeting” and that his son had done nothing wrong.
“My son is a wonderful young man,” said Trump. “He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer, not a Russian government lawyer, but a Russian lawyer. It was a short meeting. It was a meeting that went very, very quickly, very fast.”
Trump added: “I think from a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. It’s called opposition research, or even research into your opponent…that is very standard in politics.”
Trump Jr. has come under fire for taking the meeting in which he was promised damaging information about Trump’s campaign opponent Hillary Clinton from a Russian government source. Trump Jr. has since tweeted an email chain relating to the meeting after he was informed that it would be published in The New York Times. Trump has since praised his son for his “transparency” in dealing with the situation.
“Nothing happened from the meeting,” Trump insisted. “Zero happened from the meeting. And I honestly think the press made a very big deal out of something really a lot of people would do.”
Trump made the comments during his first visit to Paris since stepping into the Oval Office and the week after he attended the G20 summit in Hamburg. During the joint news conference with Macron, he also indicated that he could change his position on the Paris climate accord after speaking with the French president.
“Something could happen with respect to the Paris accord,” said Trump. “We’ll see what happens.” Last month, Trump confirmed that he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate treaty claiming the accord “will harm” American jobs.