President Trump at the White House on Saturday. Mr. Trump defended his son on Wednesday morning, denouncing reports about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer. (Credit: Al Drago for The New York Times)

President Trump at the White House on Saturday. Mr. Trump defended his son on Wednesday morning, denouncing reports about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer. (Credit: Al Drago for The New York Times)

After initially holding back, President Trump jumped to the defense of his son on Wednesday morning, denouncing reports about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer to gain incriminating information about Hillary Clinton as part of “the greatest witch hunt in political history.”

The president fired off posts on Twitter insisting that his son was “innocent” of wrongdoing and embracing the theory that he may even have been “the victim” in the case. He assailed the use of anonymous sources in the reports, although in this instance the story was confirmed by emails released by Donald Trump Jr.

“My son Donald did a good job last night,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to his son’s appearance Tuesday on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News. “He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!”

In another message, Mr. Trump added, “Remember, when you hear the words “sources say” from the Fake Media, often times those sources are made up and do not exist.” And he retweeted a Fox News Twitter message quoting one of the network’s commentators saying, “I believe Don Jr. is the victim here.” And in another post, he quoted The Washington Times as saying that “Democrats have willfully used Moscow disinformation to influence the presidential election against Donald Trump.”

The Russian government weighed in on Wednesday as well, essentially mirroring the president’s argument that the American news media was fueling a fake scandal.

“You know, it was with amazement that I learned that a Russian lawyer is being accused of communicating with Trump within Trump’s jurisdiction,” Sergey V. Lavrov, the foreign minister, told reporters in Brussels at a news conference with his Belgian counterpart. “Basically, to me it looks like barbarism, because when someone is talking to a lawyer — what kind of a problem, what threat could this constitute for anyone?”

Mr. Lavrov added: “It’s amazing how serious people are making a mountain out of a molehill, even though there may be no molehill in the first place.”

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SOURCE: PETER BAKER and NEIL MacFARQUHAR
The New York Times