Trump jr’s Russia meet defended
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.