White House: Trump “Weighed In” on Son’s Misleading Statement Explaining Russia Meeting

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said “any father” would have acted similarly.

The White House on Tuesday attempted to downplay President Donald Trump’s role in helping draft the initial statement from Donald Trump Jr. in which Trump’s eldest son attempted to explain his previously undisclosed meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the 2016 campaign.

“The president weighed in as any father would based on the limited information that he had,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “This is all discussion frankly of no consequence.”

She also denied a Washington Post account of Trump’s involvement reporting that the president personally “dictated” a majority of the statement, which claimed that the focus of the undisclosed meeting was about Russian adoptions. But emails published by the New York Times—and Trump Jr. himself—later showed that the initial statement was misleading: At the center of the meeting was not adoptions, but a promise of damaging information on Hillary Clinton—a prospect Trump Jr. appeared eager to receive.

Sanders continued to push back on Tuesday, asserting that the only “misleading” factor was reporters pushing a “false narrative” about the Russia scandal.

The confirmation on Tuesday that the president had a role in crafting his son’s response also directly contradicts vehement denials from Trump’s lawyers: “The president did not draft the response,” Jay Sekulow, the president’s personal lawyer, said during a July 16 appearance on Meet the Press. “The response came from Donald Trump Jr. and I’m sure in consultation with his lawyer.”

“I do want to be clear the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement,” Sekulow added.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67vEfBAFzSA

The revelation last month that Trump Jr. had met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya during the election in hopes of receiving incriminating information on Clinton sparked a firestorm of controversy, with legal experts describing it as the strongest hard evidence yet that Trump associates may have colluded with Russian officials to win the presidential election. 

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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