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Trump Says Son Is 'Innocent' In Russia Scandal

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President Donald Trump has broken his social media silence on his son's meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign.

On July 12, Trump took to social media to defend his son, Donald Trump Jr.

"My son Donald did a good job last night," Trump tweeted out. "He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!"

The president also urged his supporters to disregard any news stories that involved anonymous sources.

"Remember, when you hear the words 'sources say' from the Fake Media, often times those sources are made up and do not exist," Trump tweeted out.

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White House advisers reportedly told Trump to refrain from commenting on his son's emails, but he ultimately decided to weigh in.

The president's social media missives followed the revelation that Trump Jr. had allegedly agreed to meet with a source who claimed to have damaging information about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in June 2016, The New York Times reports.

On June 3, 2016, Trump Jr. received an email from entertainment publicist Rob Goldstone, who offered to connect him with a Russian government source who allegedly had damaging information about Clinton.

"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," Goldstone wrote.

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Trump Jr. responded: "If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."

On June 9, 2016, Goldstone introduced Trump Jr. to Russian lawyer and lobbyist Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower, Manhattan. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and current White House special adviser Jared Kushner also attended the meeting. Both Goldstone and Trump Jr. have stated that they ended the meeting after it became clear that Veselnitskaya did not have compromising information about Clinton.

On July 11, Trump Jr. published his email chain with Goldstone on Twitter after The New York Times had informed him that it had obtained a copy of the communications.

Later that day, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders relayed a statement from the president on the matter during a press conference.

"My son is a high quality person and I applaud his transparency," the statement read, according to Politico.

Sanders told reporters that Trump was frustrated that Russia's meddling during the 2016 presidential race continued to be a scandal during his administration. When pressed by reporters on whether the president believed that the Russian government had interfered in the election, Sanders responded: "I'm not going to answer any questions on that matter."

That evening, Trump Jr. asserted during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity that he would have likely handled the solicitation differently if he had been more aware of the controversy surrounding Russia's activities during the time.

"I don't think my sirens went [off] or my antenna went up at this time because it wasn't the issue that it's been made out to be over the last nine, 10 months," Trump Jr. told Hannity.

The Trump scion added that his meeting with Veselnitskaya was "a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame."

One Republican with close ties to the Trump administration asserted that the White House was internally panicking over the email disclosure.

"The White House is paralyzed," the anonymous Republican official told CNN.

On July 12, Trump departed Washington, D.C. for an overseas trip to Paris, France.

Sources: CNN, Fox NewsThe New York Times (2), Politico / Photo Credit: Arlington National Cemetery/Flickr, Gage Skidmore/Flickr (2)

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