White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that President Donald Trump “weighed in” on a misleading statement issued by his son last month in response to reports that he met in 2016 with a Russian attorney.
Her concession that Trump was involved in that initial statement’s drafting contradicts assertions from one of the president’s outside attorneys, Jay Sekulow, who said last month on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement.”
“He certainly didn’t dictate, but…he weighed in, offered suggestion, like any father would do,” Sanders said at Tuesday’s White House press briefing.
The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump had personally dictated the first statement, which was presented as being from Donald Trump Jr. and given to the New York Times in July. In it, Trump Jr. said a June 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney had mainly focused on adoptions of Russian children by U.S. parents, an issue tied to human rights sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States.
Trump Jr. later conceded that he had met with the lawyer because he had been told she possessed negative information on Hillary Clinton sourced from the Russian government, although he has insisted no useful information came of his meeting, which was also attended by then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a top White House aide.
“Look, the statement that Don Jr. issued is true. There’s no inaccuracy in the statement,” Sanders said. “The president weighed in as any father would, based on the limited information that he had. This is all discussion, frankly, of no consequence.”