As most of the political world unites in condemning Donald Trump Jr.’s secret and previously undisclosed meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last year, the President of the United States applauded it on Wednesday.
In an interview with Reuters, Donald Trump said, “I think many people would have held that meeting.”
More from Reuters:
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was unaware of his son Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting last year with a Russian lawyer at the heart of a White House controversy, telling Reuters he only learned of it a couple of days ago.
Asked if he knew that his son was meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June last year, Trump said in a White House interview: “No, that I didn’t know until a couple of days ago when I heard about this.”
Trump Jr. eagerly agreed to meet the woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as part of Moscow’s official support for his father’s presidential election campaign, according to emails the son released on Tuesday.
In the interview, Trump said he did not fault his son for holding the meeting. “I think many people would have held that meeting,” the president said.
Let’s be very clear about what the President of the United States just condoned.
What Trump Jr. did was take a meeting with a Russian lawyer after being informed that he would be given damaging info about Hillary Clinton, which was supplied by the Russian government.
The law states, in part, that it is illegal – duh – for “a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election.”
A Russian lawyer connected to the Kremlin giving the son and close advisers of Trump damaging information about Hillary Clinton in the heat of a presidential campaign? That is literally the definition of what the law says is illegal.
Donald Trump can crow all he wants about how “many people” would have taken such a meeting, but that doesn’t make it true.
Perhaps the folks in Trump’s inner circle – a group of individuals who have repeatedly skirted the law and put politics before country – would take such unlawful meetings in order to win an election, but that’s not standard operating procedure in American politics.
The fact that a President of the United States is essentially applauding his own son’s collusion with a foreign government is stunning – even for Donald Trump.