Was President Trump involved in illegal campaign coordination with the Russian government? Did Trump conspire to obstruct justice into investigations about potential coordination with Russia?
Set aside, for a moment, your opinions on either of these questions. As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, there is at least one question about this investigation that cannot be disputed: Trump and the White House lied about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump, Jr. and a handful of Russians. This is indisputable:
In July 2017, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, who remains on the President’s legal team, was conclusive about his boss’s role in the crafting of that statement from Don Jr. — which insisted the meeting had primarily been about adoption policies. (We learned later that was not the reason the meeting was called or its main goal.)
“Let’s focus on what the President was aware of: nothing,” insisted Sekulow on CNN’s “New Day.” “I wasn’t involved in the statement drafting at all nor was the President. I’m assuming that was between Mr. Donald Trump Jr. and his lawyers. I’m sure his lawyer was involved, that’s how you do it. To put this on the President, I think, is absolutely incorrect.”
By the following month, the White House hedging began. “The President weighed in as any father would, based on the limited information that he had,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders about Trump’s involvement in the statement.
Neither of those statements were accurate, it turns out. How do we know? Because the Trump legal team, in a 20-page January memo to special counsel Robert Mueller, first obtained by The New York Times, said they weren’t accurate.
“You have received all of the notes, communications and testimony indicating that the President dictated a short but accurate response to The New York Times article on behalf of his son, Donald Trump, Jr.,” the memo read. [Pols emphasis]
It is Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani who perhaps explained this best, albeit inadvertently, when he told ABC News over the weekend that “our recollection keeps changing.” Indeed it does.