Donald Trump "personally dictated" the statement his eldest son gave regarding his meeting with a Russian lawyer emphasising that it was not regarding the presidential campaign, The Washington Post reports.
The paper reports that as he flew back from the G20 summit in Germany last month, the strategy regarding how to respond to allegations surrounding Donald Trump Jr changed "within hours, at the president's direction".
Initially the plan had been to get on the front foot with a truthful admission. But during the Air Force One flight, Trump dictated a statement claiming they “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016.
The statement, which emphasised that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time", was later shown to be misleading.
Trump Jr ultimately had to release a number of his own emails, which revealed he agreed to meet with Natalia Veselnitskaya after he had been told she had potentially damaging information about his father's presidential rival Hillary Clinton.
This is the first time Trump has been linked to the story, which has engulfed several key members of his team including his son in law Jared Kushner, who last week gave two separate hearings - neither under oath - about the meetings.
The Washington Post quotes one of the president's advisers - among many who had spoken to the paper - saying: “This was . . . unnecessary. Now someone can claim he’s the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn’t want you to say the whole truth.”