Donald Trump Jr.’s closed door statement (which was not made under oath) to the Senate Intelligence Committee has already leaked to the New York Times. He spoke about that meeting he had with a Russian lawyer in June of 2016 over potential dirt on Hillary Clinton. Despite releasing his own emails on the subject, Don Jr. keeps giving varying reasons for the meeting, including a new story to Congress. Namely, that Don. Jr. took the meeting so he could find out just how much “fitness” Clinton had to be president:
“To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out. Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration.”
Other tidbits to come out of the proceedings include Don Jr.’s assertion that he was, essentially, too inexperienced to have pulled off a massive Russian conspiracy. “I had never worked on a campaign before and it was an exhausting, all-encompassing, life-changing experience,” he said. “Every single day I fielded dozens, if not hundreds, of emails and phone calls.” That’s the same strategy that his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, took when he spoke to the Senate about the same meeting with attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya.
In the past, Don Jr. has said he thought the meeting was about adoption issues, and that he wasn’t acting on behalf of the Trump campaign. It’ll be up to the Senate to see how all these various threads and explanations braid together, and to determine if what Don Jr. has said is true. If he was less than honest with Congress, that’s still a crime. But according to Don Jr., he’s just a befuddled and loving son thrust into a world of politics and Russian pop stars that he was ill-prepared for.
UPDATE: CNN reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to interview White House staff in regard to Don Jr.’s “initial misleading statement” regarding this meeting. The staffers in question were aboard Air Force One when President Trump “was involved in the crafting of the statement.”
(Via the New York Times)