In direct contradiction with Donald Trump’s own lawyer, Donald Trump’s White House press secretary said Tuesday that Trump “weighed in” on the original statement released in response to a New York Times story about Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer during the campaign.
“The president weighed in as any father would based on the limited information that he had,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in response to reporting that Trump personally dictated the misleading statement. “This is all discussion of no consequence,” she added.
The response to the question, which could have simply been referred to outside counsel (i.e. Trump’s lawyers), runs in direct conflict with the claims of Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow. In interviews with multiple outlets last month, Sekulow called reporting that Trump had been involved in crafting Don Jr.’s response incorrect. Here he is on Meet The Press July 16.
“The president was not — did not draft the response. The response came from Donald Trump Jr., I’m sure in consultation with his lawyer.”
The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump not only weighed in, but in fact personally dictated the statement, which falsely framed the meeting as not bearing any relevance to the campaign. Don Jr. was forced to update the statement several times as new details came to light based on further reporting.
Also at the briefing, Sanders had no word on when Trump would sign the Russia sanctions bill; she delivered a diatribe about the “false narrative” reporters are spinning on Russia when the Clintons’ collusion with Ukraine is the real story; and she distanced the White House from responsibility for Trump’s failing legislative agenda.
“What’s hurting the legislative agenda is Congress’s inability get things passed,” she said.