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'Trump Jr. didn't have protection during Russian lawyer meeting'

The Secret Service said that it would not have checked out the participants of the meeting because Donald Trump Jr. was not under their protection at the time of the meeting last June

Reported by: IANS, Washington [Published on:17 Jul 2017, 11:53 AM IST]
Donald Trump Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June
Donald Trump Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June 2016, the agency saidPhoto:PTI

The US Secret Service (USSS) is pushing back on Donald Trump's attorney's remarks that there was nothing questionable going on at a meeting between the President's eldest son a Russian lawyer.

On Sunday, the President's attorney Jay Sekulow told ABC News: "Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in?...The President had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me."

After Sekulow's comments aired on ABC, the Secret Service responded that it would not have checked out the participants of the meeting because Donald Trump Jr. was not under their protection at the time of the meeting last June.

"Donald Trump Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June 2016," the agency told CNN in a statement on Sunday evening.

"Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time."

The meeting, which took place in Trump Tower in New York City, involved Trump Jr., the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, publicist Rob Goldstone, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin and at least two other people, sources familiar with the meeting told CNN.

The meeting has drawn widespread scrutiny since The New York Times first reported about its existence last week.

In the wake of the Times' report, Trump Jr. posted a series of emails on Twitter between himself and Goldstone, an acquaintance who pointed to the Russia attorney as the source of potentially damaging information on Hillary Clinton as "part of Russia and its government's support for Trump", reports CNN.

The President has maintained having no knowledge of the meeting.

On Sunday night, Sekulow told CNN that Trump did not know about the meeting, saying: "The President was not engaged in this, was not aware of it."