The President’s son met with Senate investigators on Thursday morning. Donald Trump Jr. made an opening statement Thursday morning, about his meeting with a Kremlin linked attorney. His explanation in the report did not resolve concerns over the meeting.
The New York Times reported the opening statement in which Trump Jr. said he met with the Russian lawyer, who offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton, to determine Hillary Clinton’s “fitness” for office.
Trump Jr. said of his decision to take the meeting, “To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out. Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration.”
That response hardly garnered confidence or assuaged fears. This statement implies an understanding on Trump Jr.’s part that receiving damaging information about a political opponent from a foreign power might be legally questionable. Defenses of the younger Trump have relied heavily upon his inexperience in politics. His clear understanding that he was doing something that would prove legally questionable calls that argument into question.
The Big Picture
Trump Jr. took the meeting, which included eight people, after an email exchange that explicitly stated the purpose of the meeting was for the Russians to pass along damaging information to help get Trump elected.
The White House’s response to the meeting is ever evolving. The President was reportedly involved in drafting the original statement given by Trump Jr. in response to the news. That answer was misleading at best. It characterized the meeting as focusing on Russian adoption.
As news of the meeting continued to break the White House response continued to change with the President at one point praising his son for transparency even as he continued to release partial and misleading information.