President Donald Trump’s regular Monday morning tweet storm could not compete for TV press attention this morning.
TV news outlets were too busy splashing around in Donald Jr.’s Sunday statement about the meeting he took, during the presidential campaign, with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who promised she had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Donald Jr. fell on his sword Sunday, saying Dad had no knowledge of the meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, held at Trump Tower in June of 2016, and also attended by Donald Trump’s son-in-law/campaign strategist Jared Kushner and his one-time campaign bigwig Paul Manafort.
Word of the meeting first came to light back when Kushner had once again changed his official report about contacts with Russians, marking the third Kremlin-connected meeting Kushner failed to disclose on government clearance forms.
In a Saturday statement, Donald Jr. originally said the meeting was about the adoption of Russian babies. He issued a second statement in as many days, following an explosive report on the meeting in the New York Times.
The Trump Tower meeting, held June 9, 2016, “points to the central question in federal investigations of the Kremlin’s meddling in the presidential election: whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians,” the NYT report said.
“The accounts of the meeting represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help,” the newspaper added.
Trump Jr.’s response, the headline of which is buried in the last line:
“I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign. I was not told her meeting prior to the meeting. I asked Jared [Kushner] and Paul [Manafort] to attend, but told them nothing of the substance. We had a meeting in June 2016. After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information. She then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act. It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting. I interrupted and advised her that my father was not an elected official, but rather a private citizen, and that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office. The meeting lasted approximately 20 to 30 minutes. As it ended, my acquaintance apologized for taking up our time. That was the end of it and there was no further contact of follow-up of any kind. My father knew nothing of the meeting or these events.”
“The only way to trust what any of these people say is to put them in the Grand Jury, put them under oath,” said Miller. Even if he’s not, Donald Jr. may already have confessed to committing a crime, noting, “it is a crime to solicit or accept anything of value from a foreign national in a campaign.”