President Trump personally dictated the misleading statement Donald Trump Jr ultimately made regarding his meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign in which Trump Jr. claimed the meeting was about adoption, according to a bombshell report by the Washington Post. The claim was later found to be false after it was reported that he met with the lawyer to obtain damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
After the revelation that Trump’s eldest son had met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in July of 2016, which was also attended by Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, President Trump reportedly overruled his advisers’ initial plan to have Donald Trump Jr. release a statement to get ahead of the story that would “be truthful, so their account couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged,” according to the Post.
The Post on Monday reported that Trump dictated the July 8 statement while he was en route to the United States from the G-20 summit in Germany.
But within hours, at the president’s direction, the plan changed.
Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared a story, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”
“This was . . . unnecessary,” said one of the president’s advisers, who like most other people interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. “Now someone can claim he’s the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn’t want you to say the whole truth.”
“He refuses to sit still,” the presidential adviser said. “He doesn’t think he’s in any legal jeopardy, so he really views this as a political problem he is going to solve by himself.”