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‘I did not know’: Trump denies knowledge of 2016 meeting with Russians

US President Donald Trump says he did not know about the 2016 meeting his son Donald Trump Jr and other campaign staff held at Trump Tower with a group of Russians who offered to provide damaging information about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Key points:

  • Mr Cohen is willing to make the assertion that Mr Trump knew about the meeting to Mr Muller
  • Mr Putin said he has invited Mr Trump to Moscow and they are both ready for further summits
  • He says they need to meet to talk about issues like the Iran nuclear deal and global conflicts

"I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr," Mr Trump said in a post on Twitter, after a CNN report cited his long-time lawyer Michael Cohen as saying Mr Trump had known about the meeting in advance.

CNN, citing unidentified sources with knowledge of the matter, said Mr Cohen was willing to make that assertion to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether Mr Trump's presidential campaign had worked with Russia to sway the 2016 US presidential election.

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Mr Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, and for possible campaign law violations linked to a $130,000 ($AU169,000) payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, a person familiar with the investigation said.

The payment to Ms Daniels, who says she had an intimate relationship with Mr Trump, was meant to buy her silence over the affair.

External Link: Donald Trump tweet: Arrived back in Washington last night from a very emotional reopening of a major U.S. Steel plant in Granite City, Illinois, only to be greeted with the ridiculus news External Link: Donald Trump tweet: the only Collusion with Russia was with the Democrats, so now they are looking at my Tweets (along with 53 million other people) – the rigged Witch Hunt continues! How stupid and unfair to our Country. External Link: Donald Trump tweet: I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr. Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?).

Mr Trump suggested Mr Cohen was implicating him in exchange for possible immunity on unrelated charges related to his businesses.

"Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam," Mr Trump wrote in a series of Twitter posts, without adding details to support his claim.

In another tweet, he again denied any collusion with Moscow and denounced the Mueller probe as a witch hunt.

Mr Cohen did not immediately return a request for comment on Mr Trump's tweet.

Mr Trump's denial about his knowledge of the meeting comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had invited Mr Trump to Moscow, and that both he and Mr Trump were ready for further summits, but that conditions needed to be right for a meeting to take place.

Mr Putin and Mr Trump met in Helsinki last week at a summit, but Mr Trump faced a storm of criticism back home for his handling of the meeting.

Speaking to reporters at a summit of BRICS countries in South Africa, Mr Putin said telephone calls between Moscow and Washington were insufficient and that both sides needed to meet to talk about issues like the Iran nuclear deal and global conflicts.

Reuters

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