Only weeks ago, President Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow denied the president had a hand in crafting Donald Trump Jr.’s false statement about his meeting with Russians. On Sunday, the Washington Post has reported that the president in fact wrote the entire statement.
Trump Jr. issued the statement to the press to explain his previously disclosed meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya. He initially said they “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.” Then an email chain surfaced that showed he met with her after being promised damaging information about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“I do want to be clear ― the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement,” Sekulow said on “Meet the Press” July 16. “It came from Donald Trump Jr. … It was, in fact, from him and I believe it was his lawyer was in consultation.”
On Friday, the Post reported that the President personally dictated the statement on Air Force One, overruling advisers who advocated telling the whole story as it happened, because it was destined to come out anyway.
“This was unnecessary,” a Trump adviser told the Post. “Now someone can claim he’s the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn’t want you to say the whole truth.”
It’s not a crime to mislead the media, but presidential aides worry the revelation leaves the president open to charges of orchestrating a cover-up.
Obstruction of justice is reportedly one of the potential charges special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating as he probes potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians to sway the 2016 election.
Sekulow refused to discuss specifics of the Post story, issuing a one-line statement in response: “Apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate and not pertinent.”