Trump dictated son's misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer: Sources

Sources confirm Trump dictated his son's statement to The New York Times.

ByABC News
July 31, 2017, 10:17 PM

— -- President Donald Trump personally dictated the first statement his son gave in response to a report from The New York Times earlier this month about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort with a Russian lawyer with the promise of damaging information about Hillary Clinton, two senior level sources told ABC News.

The Washington Post first reported on Monday night the news that the president dictated the messaging.

The decision was initially made that Donald Trump Jr. would release a truthful statement that "couldn't be repudiated" before the release of the Times story, according to the Post. But that decision was reversed as the president flew back from the G-20 summit in Germany on July 8.

The president personally dictated the statement that his son and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya "primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children" at the 2016 meeting during the presidential campaign, the Post reports. The statement emphasized that the subject of the meeting was "not a campaign issue at the time," the Post reports.

Trump Jr. later acknowledged that he took the meeting after being told that he would receive damaging information about Clinton at the meeting.

Alan Futerfas, Donald Trump Jr.'s attorney, had no comment when reached Monday night by ABC News.

A spokesperson for Donald Trump Sr. also declined to comment when reached by ABC News, as did a representative for his son-in-law and adviser Kushner.

The president's legal team said the report in inaccurate.

"Apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate and not pertinent," Jay Sekulow, a member of the Trump legal team, told ABC News.

The New York Times reported that the president signed off on the initial statement from his son. Sekulow denied that in an interview with ABC News on July 12.

"The president didn't sign off on anything," Sekulow said. "He was coming back from the G-20. The statement that was released on Saturday was released by Donald Trump Jr. and, I'm sure, in consultation with his lawyers. The president wasn't involved in that."

Related Topics