Donald Trump Jr. talks with reporters during the 139th Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 17, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Donald Trump Jr. talks with reporters during the 139th Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 17, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
03:55
White House defends Trump Jr.'s meeting
Brooke Baldwin last show goodbye CNN newsroom vpx_00000217.png
CNN
Brooke Baldwin last show goodbye CNN newsroom vpx_00000217.png
Now playing
03:56
'Get a little uncomfortable': See Brooke Baldwin's last words on air
CNN
Now playing
02:56
Watch Anderson Cooper belly laugh with Cheri Oteri
Now playing
01:24
How Kyra Sedgwick got the cops called on Tom Cruise
Now playing
05:18
Anderson Cooper explains how he overcomes being shy
US Navy
Now playing
01:28
Pentagon confirms UFO video is real, taken by Navy pilot
Now playing
02:35
WWII veteran: End of the war was 'the biggest thrill of my life'
Fancy Feast/Purina
Now playing
01:06
Cat food company makes a cookbook ... for humans
Google Earth's new timelapse feature
Google
Google Earth's new timelapse feature
Now playing
01:09
Google Earth's new Timelapse feature shows 40 years of climate change in just seconds
Twitter | @brady9dream
Now playing
02:10
Pet owners pitch their pups to be dog brew's 'Chief Tasting Officer'
FOX/"The Masked Singer"
Now playing
01:23
'The Masked Singer' reveals identity of The Orca
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07:  A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on December 07, 2017 in London, England. Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lightcoin have seen unprecedented growth in 2017, despite remaining extremely volatile. While digital currencies across the board have divided opinion between financial institutions, and now have a market cap of around 175 Billion USD, the crypto sector coninues to grow, as it continues to see wider mainstreem adoption. The price of one Bitcoin passed 15,000 USD across many exchanges today taking it higher than previous all time highs.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on December 07, 2017 in London, England. Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lightcoin have seen unprecedented growth in 2017, despite remaining extremely volatile. While digital currencies across the board have divided opinion between financial institutions, and now have a market cap of around 175 Billion USD, the crypto sector coninues to grow, as it continues to see wider mainstreem adoption. The price of one Bitcoin passed 15,000 USD across many exchanges today taking it higher than previous all time highs. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:07
Bitcoin has an energy problem
The new all-electric Mercedes-EQS
Mercedes-Benz AG
The new all-electric Mercedes-EQS
Now playing
01:05
See the new all-electric EQS luxury sedan from Mercedes
Now playing
01:32
Scientists turned spiderwebs into music and it sounds like a nightmare
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
Now playing
01:02
Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers question stumps 'Jeopardy!' contestants
Now playing
05:18
Coinbase CFO: We're an on-ramp to the crypto economy

Story highlights

Trump learned of the meeting "in the last couple of days," a spokeswoman said

Trump's son "did not collude with anybody to influence the election," Sanders said

(CNN) —  

President Donald Trump only recently learned of the meeting between a Russian lawyer and three of his top campaign officials, including his son Donald Trump, Jr., a White House spokeswoman said Monday.

Trump learned of the meeting “in the last couple of days,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, describing the meeting Trump’s son, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Natalia Veselnitskaya, as “very short” with “absolutely no follow up.”

“The only thing I see inappropriate about the meeting was the people who leaked the information on the meeting after it was voluntarily disclosed,” Sanders said, slamming leaks and later the Democratic National Committee.

The White House statement echoed what Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the President’s legal team, said on Sunday.

“The President was not aware of, and did not attend, the meeting,” he said.

Vice President Mike Pence was also unaware of the meeting until recently, a spokesman told CNN on Monday.

“The vice president was not aware of the meeting,” said Marc Lotter, Pence’s spokesman. “He is not focused on stories about the campaign, particularly stories about the time before he joined the ticket.”

The meeting with Trump’s son and campaign officials happened on June 9, 2016, over a month before Pence – then Indiana’s governor – joined the Trump campaign on July 15.

Pence, in an interview with CBS News, said “of course” no one from the campaign met with Russians trying to meddle in the election.

“Did any adviser or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who were trying to meddle in the election?” CBS’ John Dickerson asked on January 15.

“Of course not,” Pence replied. “And I think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.”

Donald Trump Jr., in response to a New York Times story about his meeting, said on Saturday that his meeting with Veselnitskaya was primarily about “adoptions.”

But the President’s son and operator of the family’s business said in response to another Saturday New York Times report that the meeting was, in part, to gain damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

“After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton,” Trump Jr. said in a statement. “Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”

The meeting later pivoted, Trump’s son said, to adoptions and a US law known as the Magnitsky Act, which allows the US to withhold visas and freeze the assets of Russians thought to have violated human rights.

Sanders said later in the briefing that Trump’s son “did not collude with anybody to influence the election.”

Asked if it was normal and standard practice during the campaign to have meeting like the one Trump Jr. had.

“I don’t know any other meetings with Don Jr. but I also haven’t had an extensive conversation with him,” Sanders added.

01:20 - Source: CNN
Kellyanne Conway defends Trump Jr. meeting

The meeting – and its revelation – underscores how the swirl of stories about Russia continues here in Washington, even after Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 in Hamburg, Germany. White House aides had hoped that the meeting between the two world leaders would have helped stem the stream of stories, but were greeted by the New York Times report when they touched down in Washington after the foreign trip.

A spokesperson for Donald Trump Jr. confirms the first son has now hired Washington attorney Alan Futerfas to represent him in the ongoing matters.

Veselnitskaya founded a group that sought to remove Moscow’s ban on the adoption of Russian children by US citizens.

Clinton’s former campaign chairman, John Podesta, looked to ridicule Trump on Monday when he tweeted about the fact Trump didn’t know about the meeting at the time.

“Everyone here at this gas station in Stratton, CO is talking about how @realDonaldTrump didn’t know his son, son-in-law and campaign manager were meeting in his office building with a Russian who promised negative information about Hillary,” he tweeted. “Sad!”