PARIS >> President Donald Trump today defended the decision by his eldest son to hold a meeting with a Russian lawyer to seek derogatory information about Hillary Clinton during last year’s presidential campaign, saying that “most people would have taken that meeting.”
On Wednesday, Trump’s nominee to head the FBI, Christopher Wray, said in his confirmation hearing that a person offered information from a foreign entity about a political opponent should call the FBI. Asked about that, Trump praised Wray, but insisted his son Donald Trump Jr. had done nothing wrong.
Obtaining what he referred to as “opposition research” is “very standard in politics,” Trump said.
Speaking at a news conference today with French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump insisted that “nothing happened from the meeting, zero happened.”
“The press made a very big deal over something” that was merely “a short meeting,” he said.
The news conference was the main public event in a day of meetings between the two presidents which included much of the pomp and showmanship that Trump delights in.
Before the meeting, Macron and his wife, Brigitte, greeted the president and first lady Melania Trump at Les Invalides, the site of Napoleon’s Tomb and other monuments to the French military.
“Emmanuel, nice to see you. This is so beautiful,” Trump declared as he stepped out of the presidential limousine to a welcome featuring French soldiers, including Republican Guards wearing their distinctive red-feathered caps.
Macron invited Trump to Paris for Bastille Day on the 100th anniversary of U.S. entry into World War I. In keeping with the theme, the ceremonial portion of the day was heavy with French military history, including a tour of Napoleon’s tomb and the nearby burial site of French Marshal Ferdinand Foch, commander of the allied armies in the war.
Earlier in the day, after arriving from Washington on an overnight flight, Trump met with U.S. diplomatic and military officials at the ambassador’s residence in Paris while the first lady visited a children’s hospital. The pool of reporters who travel with the president was kept in a basement room while Trump spoke to a large crowd of U.S. officials and their families.