Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer

The Washington Post reports: On the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Germany this month, President Trump’s advisers discussed how to respond to a new revelation that Trump’s oldest son had met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign — a disclosure the advisers knew carried political and potentially legal peril.

The strategy, the advisers agreed, should be for Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged.

But within hours, at the president’s direction, the plan changed.

Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared a story, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”

The claims were later shown to be misleading.

Over the next three days, multiple accounts of the meeting were provided to the media as public pressure mounted, with Trump Jr. ultimately acknowledging that he had accepted the meeting after receiving an email promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign.

The extent of the president’s personal intervention in his son’s response, the details of which have not previously been reported, adds to a series of actions that Trump has taken that some advisers fear could place him and some members of his inner circle in legal jeopardy. [Continue reading…]

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Comments

  1. Dieter Heymann says:

    That meeting may well become the quicksand into which the Trump administration can sink.

  2. From this we learn (1) that Trump is a know-it-all micromanager, and thus by an easy deduction, at the heart and helm of the whole enterprise, and (2) that a number of individuals close to him are increasingly alarmed at the legal threat they face and are thus trying to portray themselves as powerless bystanders before the Feds arrive at the doorstep.

    The article builds to a priceless, backhanded apologia — “Because Trump believes he is innocent, some advisers explained, he therefore does not think he is at any legal risk for a coverup.” Is this an attempt to get Trump off the hook, or to snag him with it?

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