During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders addressed a report regarding President Trump’s advice for son Donald Jr., about how to address his Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer. According to Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s involvement was merely parental.
In the Washington Post (WaPo) article, they allege that President Trump scripted Donald Trump Jr.’s statement in response to the revelation that he had met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign. The article says President Trump’s advisers discussed how to respond, then devised a truthful statement. After that, President Trump got involved.
WaPo writes, “At the president’s direction, the plan changed.”
On July 8, Donald Trump Jr. said that his meeting at Trump Towers in Manhattan occurred in June 2016. He said the meeting was focused on the Russian adoption program, which was cancelled, preventing the adoption of Russian children by American parents.
Later revelations showed that Trump Jr. originally met with the lawyer because he was told she had information that could be damaging to Donald Trump’s political rival, failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The meeting between Trump Jr. and the lawyer was arranged by a mutual acquaintance, but the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, has been tied back to the Democratic party.
At Tuesday’s press briefing, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president provided only fatherly counsel, not specific direction, when discussing the matter with his son aboard Air Force One.
Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday, “The President weighed in as any father would, based on the limited information he had.” She continued, “This is all discussion, frankly, of no consequence. There was no follow up. It was disclosed to the proper parties, which is how The New York times found out about it in the first place. He certainly didn’t dictate. He weighed in and offered suggestions.”
Regarding allegations that Donald Jr.’s statement started out truthful but was changed, Sanders said, “Look, the statement that Don Jr. issued is true. There’s no inaccuracy in the statement.”
President Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law & Justice, said the Post report wasn’t a concern. “Apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate and not pertinent,” said Sekulow.
Donald Jr.’s attorney, Alan Futerfas, said there was “no evidence” to support the allegations made in the Post article.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Huckabee Sanders said the media’s focus on the Russia investigation saga is being perpetuated by the Democratic party.
“The Democrats want to continue to use this as a [public relations] stunt, and are doing everything they can to keep this story alive and in the papers every single day,” Huckabee Sanders said.
With stories about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election, as well as information about the activities of special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional panels, the media has been full of the Russia narrative throughout President Trumps’s time in office.
Still, Huckabee Sanders wanted to re-focus the message of the administration, reminding reporters that Americans across the country elected the president, and he has a focus other than Russia.
“The President, the American people, they voted America first and not Russia first, and that’s the focus of our administration.”
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