CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday went off Donald Trump, his personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and others in the Trump administration for consistently lying to the public about the nature of a meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, a Russian emissary and at least four other individuals.
Tapper had been personally misled by Sekulow, who assured Tapper during an interview on CNN’s “New Day” that the president played no role in signing off on the Trump Jr.’s misleading statement, which billed the meeting as a one-off gathering primarily focused on Russian adoption.
As Tapper noted Tuesday, he pressed Sekulow on a New York Times report, published last month, that indicated Trump okayed his son’s original statement about the meeting—a statement Trump Jr. was forced to clarify multiple times.
“That's not true,” Sekulow insisted in that July interview with Tapper.
“The president did not sign off on a statement?” Tapper asked.
“No, he did not. The statement was issued by Donald Trump Jr.,” Sekulow said. “People can say whatever they want, but the fact is it's just not true.”
Referencing a report Monday by the Washington Post that Trump “personally dictated” Trump Jr.’s statement, Tapper called out Sekulow’s lies.
“Today, we found out from the Post that the president did more than look at Don Jr.'s misleading statement, he dictated it against the advice of his advisers who favored a full disclosure about the meetings, suspecting all the information was going to come out anyway—which it did.” Tapper said.
The CNN host then noted Sanders’ reply at a Tuesday press briefing that Trump offered his opinion during the crafting of that statement, as any father would, but “there is no inaccuracy in” in Trump Jr.’s original claim.
“To be clear, of course, the statement that Don Jr. issued that was dictated by the president, according to the Post, was misleading,” Tapper said. “It did not even remotely acknowledge the purpose of the meeting, which was Donald Trump Jr. wanting to meet someone billed as a Russian government lawyer with one specific purpose: to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton.”
“You, as a citizen, you should expect a much higher standard of truth than the one that the White House press secretary just enunciated,” Tapper continued. “If a meeting takes place so campaign officials can get dirt on a political rival from the Russian government, describing that meeting as being about adoption and not mentioning the purpose of the meeting. It’s not true. It's inaccurate. It's so misleading as to be a lie.”
“You as a citizen, you have every right to wonder: why would the president hide the truth and be inaccurate about this?” Tapper added. “Why would he want to hide from you the facts of this meeting which they insist was innocent? And, as always, what does any of this have to do with making america great again?”
Watch the takedown below, via CNN: