‘You’re deflecting’: Tapper corners combative Trump lawyer for ‘downplaying’ Don Jr.’s Russia meeting
CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday went head-to-head with Donald Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow, cornering the attorney for “deflecting” his questions while “downplaying” Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian emissary.
Tapper began the interview by pressing whether it was “okay” for Trump Jr. to willingly meet with a Russian lawyer under the pretense of obtaining damaging information about former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Sekulow countered that Clinton’s campaign obtained information from the Ukraine—an ally of the United States. “Nobody [from Ukraine] was meeting with any senior people of the Clinton campaign,” Tapper said.
Sekulow insisted it was equally as nefarious, prompting Tapper to press whether Trump Jr.’s meeting was “ethical.”
“This is not unique to Donald Trump’s campaign,” Sekulow argued, trying to cast the meeting as completely innocuous. Sekulow insisted the opposition research compiled in the infamous dossier on Trump was on par with Trump Jr.’s willingness to collude with the foreign adversary.
“I don’t know of any instance of [dossier author] Christopher Steele handing that information over to the Clinton campaign,” Tapper replied.
Trump’s attorney further tried to dismiss any allegations of wrongdoing, arguing that Trump Jr. released the emails in an attempt to be transparent, whereas Clinton deleted 30,000 emails from her private server. Tapper said Clinton was “wrong” to do that before pointing out that Trump Jr. only published the exchange after learning the New York Times had a copy.
“I believe that the FBI did an investigation” about Clinton’s emails, Tapper said.
“Here you have a meeting where nothing transpired,” Sekulow shot back, prompting Tapper to retort, “You’re very good at the deflecting.”
“I think you are understandably downplaying the oddity of getting an email that says, ‘The Russian government want to help us,’” Tapper later said.
Watch the back and forth below, via CNN: