By Barnini Chakraborty, ,
Published September 27, 2017
President Trump lashed out at the media and the Obama administration Thursday over the criticism his team is facing for his eldest son's 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer thought to have damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
At a joint press conference with the French president in Paris, Trump said the media are making "a very big deal over something that really a lot of people would do.”
He then turned his focus to Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch, saying he had “heard” Lynch was the one to approve Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s visa.
This is an apparent reference to reports that Lynch signed off on granting the attorney special "parole" to be in the country -- though it remains unclear whether she had permission to be in the U.S. at the time of the June 2016 meeting.
"Somebody said that her visa or her passport to come into the country was approved by Attorney General Lynch, now maybe that’s wrong, I just heard that a little while ago … [that] she was here because of Lynch."
Trump also, as he has in recent days, defended Donald Trump Jr. against criticism.
"My son is a wonderful young man. He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer, not a government lawyer but a Russian lawyer," Trump said in the press conference with President Emmanuel Macron. "From a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting, it's called opposition research or research into your opponent."
On Capitol Hill, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he will call on Trump Jr. to testify amid investigations into Russian meddling in last year's election.
Grassley said he wants Trump Jr. to testify "pretty soon," and it could be as early as next week. Asked if he was willing to issue a subpoena if Trump Jr. declined to appear, Grassley said "yes."
Back in Paris, Trump and Macron set aside lingering differences on climate change during their meeting, with both saying the disagreement shouldn’t prevent them from working together toward a post-war roadmap for Syria.
When pressed by a reporter on America’s participation in a future global agreement on climate after the U.S. moved to withdraw from the Paris pact, Trump remained non-committal.
“If it happens, that will be wonderful, and if it doesn’t that will be OK too,” Trump said.
Macron and Trump met ahead of France’s annual Bastille Day celebrations. Trump will be in the country for 36 hours. He’ll also participate in Bastille Day celebrations and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S.’s entry into World War I.
Trump will be back on U.S. soil late Friday.