The 5 Key Questions On Trump's Role In His Son's Statement On The Russia Meeting

CNN/ Newswire | 8/1/2017, 8:14 a.m.
The Washington Post dropped an absolute bombshell on Monday night: President Donald Trump dictated the initial statement from his son, ...
Donald Trump Jr.

3. How did Trump construct such a carefully-worded statement?

Here's the full statement Don Jr. put out in response to the New York Times' initial reporting about the June 2016 meeting:

"It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up. I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand."

There's a whole lot of misleading done in that statement. But, no actual lying. The use of the word "primarily" to describe the main focal point of the meeting doesn't preclude the fact that other things came up. And, it's true that Russian adoption policy was "not a campaign issue at the time" -- nor did it become one. What the statement conveniently leaves out is that the reason for the meeting was a promise via Goldstone of Russian-supplied negative information about Clinton. Which is a big thing to leave out.

That Trump a) did dictate the statement and b) was totally clueless about the nature of the June meeting simply doesn't wash. No one with such limited knowledge of what actually happened in the meeting could come up with a statement so nuanced and careful.

4. Why did Don Jr.'s lawyer say they "were fully prepared and absolutely prepared to make a fulsome statement" about the meeting?

According to the Post reporting, the plan was for "Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the [Times] story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldn't be repudiated later if the full details emerged."

But, according to the Post, the President himself called an audible, dictating the statement that was eventually released -- a far less forthcoming one that had to be changed multiple times in the days following its release. Trump Jr.'s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, said in a statement to the Post that his client was "fully" and "absolutely" prepared to make a "fulsome" statement. That line seems to suggest that something -- or someone -- stopped that more-forthcoming statement from being released. What or who was it?

5. Why did Trump feel the need to weigh in?

This is a basic question -- but an important one. Trump knew, by the time he reportedly dictated this statement on behalf of his son, that the Russia investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller was well under way. And he knew, at least according to fired FBI Director James Comey, that when the two men last spoke, Comey told Trump he was not personally under investigation.

So then why involve himself in this Russia meeting in any way, shape or form? Why not just leave it alone, given that you are the President of the United States and that your son is a grown man? Why risk being dragged into this morass by not only dictating a statement but doing so on Air Force One?