A new story in The Washington Post on Monday spells more trouble for Donald Trump and the White House as the newspaper reports that the president personally crafted a false statement defending his son’s private meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign.
According to the paper, Trump ignored his staff’s wishes to get the full truth out and instead “dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said he and the Russian lawyer” simply met to discuss issues related to adoption.
More from the report:
On the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Germany last month, President Trump’s advisers discussed how to respond to a new revelation that Trump’s oldest son had met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign — a disclosure the advisers knew carried political and potentially legal peril.
The strategy, the advisers agreed, should be for Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged.
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.”
The claims were later shown to be misleading.
As the Post adds later in the report, the new development that Trump was this involved in concocting a lie about his son’s meeting with the Russians “adds to a series of actions that Trump has taken that some advisers fear could place him and some members of his inner circle in legal jeopardy.”
With the president already under investigation for possible obstruction of justice with respect to Russian involvement in last year’s election, Trump’s intentional move to cover up the details of his son’s meeting could put him in more legal hot water than he’s already in.
It’s clear that Trump, while deeply incompetent, was not oblivious to what was happening during the campaign when it came to his team’s – and family’s – ties to Russia.
Now, as president, he appears to be at the center of a cover-up that is gradually bringing down his entire presidency, one bombshell piece of reporting at a time.