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.”
Over the next three days, multiple accounts of the meeting were provided to the news media as public pressure mounted, with Trump Jr. ultimately acknowledging that he had accepted the meeting after receiving an email promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign.
The extent of the president’s personal intervention in his son’s response, the details of which have not previously been reported, adds to a series of actions that Trump has taken that some advisers fear could place him and some members of his inner circle in legal jeopardy.Trump apparently got the line from Putin himself. NYT, 7/19/17:
Describing a newly disclosed informal conversation he had with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia during a dinner of world leaders in Germany this month, Mr. Trump said they talked for about 15 minutes, mostly about “pleasantries.” But Mr. Trump did say that they talked “about adoption.” Mr. Putin banned American adoptions of Russian children in 2012 after the United States enacted sanctions on Russians accused of human rights abuses, an issue that remains a sore point in relations with Moscow.Lawyer Jay Sekulow is either clueless or dishonest. The Week:
On June 12, Sekulow told George Stephanopoulos that the Times' June 11 report was "incorrect," and "the president didn't sign off on anything. He was coming back from the G-20, the statement that was released on Saturday was released by Donald Trump Jr. and, I'm sure, in consultation with his lawyers. The president wasn't involved in that." He then told CNN's New Day that "I wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the president." On June 16, he told Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet the Press: "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."Emily Steel reports at NYT:
The private detective at the center of a Fox News article about the death of a young Democratic aide claims that the White House and a wealthy Trump supporter urged the network to publish the article as part of a scheme to blunt speculation about the president’s ties to Russia, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
Rod Wheeler, who was hired by the family of the aide, Seth Rich, to look into his death, filed the lawsuit against Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, accusing the network of fabricating quotes from him in an article on FoxNews.com. Mr. Wheeler states that the network was aware that he had not said the statements yet it published them “with reckless disregard for their truth.”
The network later retracted the article, saying it did not meet its standards.
In the suit, Mr. Wheeler, who is a Fox News contributor, asserts that he was a pawn in a broader plan by the White House, a Trump supporter named Ed Butowsky and Fox News to “shift the blame from Russia and help put to bed speculation that President Trump colluded with Russia in an attempt to influence the outcome of the presidential election.” The lawsuit, alleging defamation and racial discrimination, was filed Tuesday morning in the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York.