Trump wor­ried? Must be a mis­take

The Denver Post - - PERSPECTIVE - By Ti­mothy L. O'brien

On Sun­day morn­ing, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump shared his con­cerns about a meet­ing he said didn’t con­cern him:

“Fake News re­port­ing, a com­plete fabri­ca­tion, that I am con­cerned about the meet­ing my won­der­ful son, Don­ald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meet­ing to get in­for­ma­tion on an op­po­nent, to­tally le­gal and done all the time in pol­i­tics — and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”

That meet­ing in Trump Tower two years ago pre­sum­ably also didn’t con­cern him when he tweeted about it just 10 days ago:

“… I did NOT know of the meet­ing with my son, Don jr. Sounds to me like some­one is try­ing to make up sto­ries in or­der to get him­self out of an un­re­lated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even re­tained Bill and Crooked Hil­lary’s lawyer. Gee, I won­der if they helped him make the choice!”

It prob­a­bly didn’t con­cern him that much when he tweeted about it last year, ei­ther:

“Most politi­cians would have gone to a meet­ing like the one Don jr at­tended in or­der to get info on an op­po­nent. That’s pol­i­tics!” Al­though the pres­i­dent con­firmed in his Sun­day tweet that the rea­son his son, his cam­paign man­ager and his son­in­law all met with a group of Rus­sians in 2016 was to col­lect com­pro­mis­ing in­for­ma­tion about Hil­lary Clin­ton, it was such an in­signif­i­cant ad­mis­sion that one of his at­tor­neys, Jay Seku­low, ap­peared on ABC shortly af­ter the pres­i­dent tweeted to as­sure view­ers that there didn’t ap­pear to be any­thing “il­le­gal” about the meet­ing.

“The ques­tion is what law, statute or rule or reg­u­la­tion’s been vi­o­lated?” Seku­low asked. “No­body’s pointed to one.”

(Some le­gal an­a­lysts have re­peat­edly noted the meet­ing could have bro­ken a num­ber of laws, in­cluded con­spir­acy to de­fraud the U.S. and aid­ing and abet­ting a con­spir­acy. But let’s move along.)

Seku­low also said on Sun­day that he needed to clear up some con­fu­sion he cre­ated last year when he said that the pres­i­dent hadn’t helped con­coct a mis­lead­ing cover story about the Trump Tower meet­ing in re­sponse to re­porters’ ques­tions about it. In fact, Trump, on his way home from a G­20 sum­mit in Europe last year, dic­tated a state­ment aboard Air Force One that said noted child ad­vo­cate Don­ald Trump Jr. took the meet­ing to dis­cuss Rus­sian adop­tion poli­cies (rather than try­ing to scoop up kom­pro­mat).

“I had bad in­for­ma­tion at that time and made a mis­take in my state­ment,” Seku­low

con­fessed on Sun­day. “That hap­pens when you have cases like this.”

Mis­takes, they’ve made a few. In June, another Trump lawyer, Rudy Gi­u­liani, copped to the same er­ror about ex­actly the same thing. “I don’t think any­one was ly­ing,” he as­sured CNN view­ers while dis­cussing why he had said — in­cor­rectly — that Trump hadn’t been the au­thor of Don­ald Jr.’s cover story.

“It was a mis­take,” Gi­u­liani al­lowed. “I swear to God, it was a mis­take.”

Trump’s tweets of late do sug­gest that he’s gear­ing up for a con­fronta­tion of some sort with Mueller.

There was this from June: “The Rus­sian Witch Hunt Hoax con­tin­ues, all be­cause Jeff Ses­sions didn’t tell me he was go­ing to re­cuse him­self … I would have quickly picked some­one else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ru­ined … and Ses­sions knew bet­ter than most that there was No Col­lu­sion!”

And this one from last week: “...This is a ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, be­fore it con­tin­ues to stain our coun­try any fur­ther. Bob Mueller is to­tally con­flicted, and his 17 An­gry Democrats that are do­ing his dirty work are a dis­grace to USA!”

Nei­ther of these tweets should be con­strued as the thoughts of some­one grow­ing in­creas­ingly wor­ried about the le­gal im­pli­ca­tions of fur­ther dis­clo­sures about meet­ings in Trump Tower. That would be a mis­take. They also shouldn’t be seen as ef­forts to ob­struct jus­tice, as Seku­low will be quick to point out.

“Ob­struc­tion of jus­tice by tweet is ab­surd,” Seku­low said in his ABC ap­pear­ance on Sun­day. “The pres­i­dent has a First Amend­ment right to put his opin­ions out there.”

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