The president gave a characteristically wild interview to The New York Times on Wednesday, covering a wide range of subjects including “people he is mad at” (pretty much everyone), his family’s “good genes,” and the legacy of Napoleon, which he butchered and clearly just learned about on his recent trip to Paris. Nearly every aspect of the interview is simultaneously illuminating and deeply confusing in a sort of entertaining but mostly very troubling way. But Trump’s heedless conversational style also means that these interviews are full of slip-ups and bizarre admissions.
While Trump was shockingly up front about his disdain for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he twice came close to giving the game away when discussing his son Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with an ever-growing number of Russians during the 2016 campaign. Trump has always insisted that he did not know about the meeting, which took place at Trump Tower and which also involved his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort. But when discussing it in the Times interview, Trump made it seem like he knew about the meeting, before denying knowing anything about it, before once again appearing to know about it:
Moreover, Trump knows more about this meeting than he’s letting on.
This is earlier in the transcript but it seems like Trump knows quite a lot about the meeting that he has claimed was very unimportant and that he knew nothing about until recently. Just as interestingly, he stops himself before admitting too much: “All I know is this: When somebody calls up and they say, ‘We have infor—’”
Trump is clearly defending his son for taking the meeting, even if he doesn’t quite go all the way. Meanwhile, his claim that he knew nothing about it is looking awfully shaky.