Trump jr’s Rus­sia meet de­fended

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON: A se­nior mem­ber of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s per­sonal le­gal team said on Sun­day that there was noth­ing im­proper in the meet­ing that Don­ald Trump jr, the pres­i­dent’s el­dest son, had with a Rus­sian lawyer promis­ing dirt on Hil­lary Clin­ton.

“Well, I won­der why the Se­cret Ser­vice, if this was ne­far­i­ous, why the Se­cret Ser­vice al­lowed these peo­ple in,” Jay Seku­low, a lawyer for the pres­i­dent, said on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopou­los. “The pres­i­dent had Se­cret Ser­vice pro­tec­tion at that point, and that raised a ques­tion with me.”

It’s highly un­likely that the Se­cret Ser­vice, which is charged with pro­tect­ing the pres­i­dent, his aides and his fam­ily from phys­i­cal harm, would have any in­flu­ence over who the pres­i­dent or his chil­dren chose to meet dur­ing a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

A Se­cret Ser­vice spokesper­son cast doubt on Seku­low’s claims.

“Don­ald Trump jr was not un­der Se­cret Ser­vice pro­tec­tion in June 2016,” said Cathy Mil­hoan, the di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the pro­tec­tive agency.

The pres­i­dent, mean­while, took to Twit­ter, where he por­trayed the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tions as a me­dia fab­ri­ca­tion and turned his fire on his Demo­cratic ri­val.

“Hil­lary Clin­ton can il­le­gally get the ques­tions to the De­bate & delete 33 000 e-mails but my son Don is be­ing scorned by the Fake News Me­dia?” Trump tweeted Sun­day morn­ing.

The pres­i­dent’s tweets, how­ever, did not ad­dress his son’s mis­steps re­gard­ing the Rus­sia meet­ing, which have only served to feed sus­pi­cions.

Ini­tially, Trump jr said the meet­ing fo­cused on Rus­sia’s moves to halt adop­tions by Amer­i­can fam­i­lies, but he changed his story af­ter new de­tails emerged.

The e-mails re­leased last week show that Trump jr be­lieved he was meet­ing with Natalia Ve­sel­nit­skaya, a Rus­sian lawyer with pos­si­ble ties to the Krem­lin, who would pro­vide dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion about Clin­ton as part of a Rus­sian broader ef­fort to as­sist his father’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

He was joined at the meet­ing by Jared Kush­ner, Trump’s son-in-law; Paul Manafort, then a top cam­paign aide; and Ri­nat Akhmetshin, a lob­by­ist and pos­si­ble in­tel­li­gence agent in the for­mer Soviet Union.

Trump jr has said that noth­ing came of the dis­cus­sion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.