The Washington Post reports that President Trump dictated Don Jr's "misleading" statement to the press when he was caught meeting with Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Apparently Trump's advisers wanted to get out in front of the story put out a more through account of what had transpired, but the Orange Julius had other ideas.
Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that 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 an article, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”
The NY Times had reported that the president was indeed involved in writing the statement weeks ago, but that report was refuted by one of Trump's attorney's Jay Sekulow.
On July 12th, when asked by GMA's George Stephanopoulos asked about the president signing off on the Don Jr. statement and if he felt he was mislead by his son?
Sekulow replied, "The president didn't sign off on anything." The statement that was released on Saturday, was released by Don Trump Jr., -- the president wasn't involved in that."
"You're disputing the account from the NY Times?
Then Sekulow was on NBC's Meet the Press on July 16th, and responded the same way.
Chuck Todd asked," Can you tell me about the reports that the president was involved in the initial response that Donald Trump Jr. gave the New York Times?"
Sekulow replied, "So I read those reports as well and the president was not -- did not -- draft the response. The response came from Donald Trump Jr. and -- I’m sure -- in consultation with his lawyer."
Jay went on to outline how the meeting was about only Magnitsky Act and said, "that's really what it was about."
Todd pushed on, "You were very careful to say the president didn’t draft the statement. That isn’t what I asked. Did the president get a heads up on the statement? Did he sign off on the statement? Was he asked to read the statement before it was given to the New York Times on Air Force One?"
Sekulow said, "I do want to be clear -- that the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr. So that’s what I can tell you because that’s what we know."
This appears to be false and Trump's legal team knew it at he time Sekulow made the rounds on TV.
Trump has now opened himself up to legal consequences if the special counsel does its due diligence and Sekulow should never be trusted again.
Also Josh Marshall makes a good point:
We are also told that the President’s legal team wanted to leak the story to the right wing propaganda chop-shop “Circa” with the theory that the meeting with the Russian lawyer was a Democratic set-up, meant to entrap Don Jr. and thus his father. This shows us a couple things: the Trump legal team is both corrupt and inept. Note here that this purported set-up happened a good six weeks before the first event which got people thinking of a suspicious relationship between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Beyond the overarching nonsense of such a set up, even the chronology is preposterous on its fact. Corrupt and inept.
Corrupt and inept, exactly.
UPDATE: During today's WH press briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders just admitted to the press that President Trump did weigh on on his son's statement about his meetign with Russian operatives.
Back to you, Jay.