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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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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