WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — The White House responded Tuesday to a Washington Post report saying President Trump dictated Donald Trump Jr.’s statement on his meeting with a Russian attorney during the 2016 presidential election.
As CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported, one of the president’s attorneys called the article misinformed, inaccurate, and not pertinent. But after a complete denial from his legal team that the president was involved at all, the White House confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Trump did weigh in on his son’s statement about that controversial meeting.
This, coming amid “American Dream Week” at the White House as President Trump spent Tuesday afternoon touting the ways his administration is helping Americans achieve just that.
“Unemployment just hit a 16 year low,” Trump said. “Together, we’re unleashing a new era of American prosperity like we’ve never seen before.”
While the president hosted small business leaders to talk taxes and jobs, his press secretary was hammered with questions about Trump family business held behind closed doors — specifically the Washington Post report that Trump dictated his son’s statement regarding a previously undisclosed meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign in June 2016.
“The statement that Don Jr. issued is true,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “There’s no inaccuracy in the statement. The president weighed in as any father would do based on the limited information he had.”
The statement to the New York Times called it a “short introductory meeting about the adoption of Russian children,” but Donald Junior’s own emails show he was promised potentially damaging information on the Clinton campaign.
The White House admission that the president was involved at all would appear to be a contradiction to what one of the president’s attorneys said.
“The president was coming back from the G20 as this was going on, as you know. So my understanding was, very clearly, this was Donald Trump Jr. and his lawyers,” attorney Jay Sukelow said. “The president was not involved in it.”
Sanders said it was, “discussion, frankly, of no consequence.”
Lawmakers from both parties disagree.
“When you put out a misleading statement it’s gonna be hard to convince people to stop looking at other things,” Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) said.
“I can’t believe any worthwhile prosecutor can ignore this,” Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said.
As all the new information comes to light, several congressional committees as well as special counsel Robert Mueller continue to dig into the meeting as they probe possible Russian meddling in last year’s election.