— -- House Speaker Paul Ryan says it’s “important” investigators “get to the bottom” of Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer, declaring “it is absolutely unacceptable that Russia — or any other country — but Russia meddled in our elections.”
“We have a special counsel that’s doing an investigation over at Justice Department. We have an investigation here in the House. We have an investigation in the Senate,” Ryan, R-Wis., said during a press conference Wednesday on Capitol Hill. “I think it’s very important that these professionals in these committees do their jobs so that we can get to the bottom of all of this.”
On June 9, 2016, after being told a Russian lawyer had incriminating information on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. — along with Donald Trump Sr.’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then–campaign chairman, Paul Manafort — met at Trump Tower in New York with the attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Ryan refused to weigh in on whether he would accept a meeting under similar circumstances.
“Look, I’m not going into hypotheticals, only because I think it’s important that we get to the bottom of all of this,” Ryan said.
Ryan said he supported former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel in May.
“I think we need to let him and his team and our investigators here do their jobs and follow these leads ... wherever they may go, and follow the facts," Ryan said.
He said that he believes “in strong, bold Russian sanctions” but that the delay in the House on a new sanction bill is due to “a procedural concern” by Democrats.
Ryan and other House GOP leaders are pointing to Democrats for blocking unanimous consent to send the bill to the Senate. Democrats say Republicans are undermining their minority rights and the institutional power of Congress by crafting the language to empower only the majority — a shift from other sanction bills, according to Democrats.
“We’ve never moved a bill on blue-slip issues on a partisan way. I want to keep that bipartisan,” Ryan said.
Ryan hinted that the sanction bill may not come to the floor without changes, due to “some policy issues with respect to making sure we don’t actually inadvertently help Russian oligarchs and oil firms.”
An aide to Ryan did not immediately specify his concerns.