Father knows best? President Trump rejected the advice of aides and personally dictated a statement for Donald Trump Jr. when news of the younger Trump's meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign first surfaced, sources say. According to the Washington Post's sources, advisers with Trump at the G20 summit told him the best strategy would be for Trump Jr. to try to defuse the situation by quickly issuing a truthful statement about the meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya. But Trump decided on a different approach while taking Air Force One home, the sources say, and came up with what turned out to be a misleading statement claiming that the June 2016 meeting had been about adoption.
The statement Trump Jr. provided to the press July 8 failed to mention what dominated coverage of the meeting in the days afterward: the fact that Trump Jr. believed that the meeting had been set up for the Russian to share damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow says the Post's version of events is inaccurate. "Apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate, and not pertinent," he said in a statement to ABC News. In an earlier interview, Sekulow denied that Trump had approved the initial statement from Trump Jr., saying "the president didn't sign off on anything." (Jared Kushner says the meeting was so pointless that he engineered a way to get himself out of there after 10 minutes.)