Donald Trump “personally dictated” Donald Trump Jr.’s misleading statement about a meeting between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer, the Washington Post reports.
The New York Times reported on July 11 that the statement—wherein Trump Jr. claimed the meeting was primarily about Russian adoption, and conveniently left out at least four other participants—was crafted on Air Force One and “signed off on” by the president.
Now, the Post reports the statement was issued “at the president’s direction.”
“This was . . . unnecessary,” a anonymous Trump adviser told the Post. “Now someone can claim he’s the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn’t want you to say the whole truth.”
“[Trump] refuses to sit still,” the adviser added. “He doesn’t think he’s in any legal jeopardy, so he really views this as a political problem he is going to solve by himself.”
Lawyers for Trump Jr.—who was forced to modify his statement several times after reports indicated his retelling was less-than-truthful—have previously insisted the president’s son’s legal team was “fully prepared and absolutely prepared to publish or make a statement that was a fulsome statement about the nature of the meeting, what led to the meeting, what the conversation was in the meeting.”
Alan Futerfas, one of Trump Jr.’s lawyers, repeated that statement to the Post Monday.