Washington — US President Donald Trump said he doesn’t remember much about a March 2016 meeting in which a campaign foreign-policy adviser raised the idea of seeking meetings with Russian officials and then continuing contacts with Russian intermediaries.
Trump was also non-committal in response to a question about whether he would fire attorney-general Jeff Sessions, who he has criticised for appointing special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate potential collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian efforts to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
"I don’t know," Trump told reporters Friday on the White House lawn as he prepared to board Marine One for the first leg of trip to Asia. "I’m really not involved with the Justice Department."
Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos’s contacts with Russian officials and the March meeting surfaced in court filings connected with Papadopoulos’s guilty plea in the Mueller probe. The filings indicate the former adviser is now co-operating with prosecutors in their investigation.
"I don’t remember much about that meeting," Trump said. "It was a very unimportant meeting — took place a long time — don’t remember much about it."
According to a document describing charges against the adviser, Papadopoulos attended a "national security meeting" in DC with then-candidate Trump and other foreign policy advisers, on March 31 2016. The document says when Papadopoulos introduced himself to the group he mentioned having connections that could help the campaign arrange a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.