The White House confirmed Tuesday that President Trump had been involved in drafting a statement for his son Donald Trump Jr. after reports emerged last month that he had met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign.
“The statement that Don Jr. issued is true. The President weighed in as any father would based on the limited information that he had,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday at the daily press briefing. “This is all discussion frankly with 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 to begin with.”
“He certainly didn’t dictate,” Sanders continued, “but you know, he, like I said, he weighed in, offered suggestion, like any father would do. ”
The Washington Post reported Monday night that President Trump had “personally dictated” the initial statement from Donald Trump Jr. about his June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya after the New York Times broke the news about it.
Trump’s statement said the two primarily discussed Russian adoption policy. Trump’s campaign manager at the time, Paul Manafort, attended the meeting, as did the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is now a Senior White House adviser.
The New York Times subsequently reported that Donald Trump Jr. had met with Veselnitskaya because he was promised compromising information about Hillary Clinton. After that report, the President’s son released his emails leading up to the meeting, which showed he was promised “very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
One of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, told the Post, “apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate, and not pertinent.”
Sanders said the focus on this meeting was part of a political ploy by the Democrats.
“The Democrats want to continue to use this as a PR stunt and are doing everything they can to keep this alive and in the paper every single day,” she said.