Newly released interview transcripts show Donald Trump Jr. tried to protect his father from the Trump Tower meeting fallout
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday published transcripts of interviews with several of President Trump's top campaign officials who met with Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016.
Among the 2,000 pages of documents was the transcript of the interview with Donald Trump Jr., who invited a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer to offer "dirt" on then-candidate Hillary Clinton. In the panel interview, Trump Jr. described how the team handled things once news of the meeting got out. In a July 2017 statement, Trump Jr. said that the meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya was mostly about about an adoption program, but he later had to walk the statement back after his emails — which he released himself — showed that he had hoped for ammunition against Clinton.
The transcripts released Wednesday show that Trump Jr. hoped to leave his father, President Trump, out of the drama when it came to drafting a statement about the infamous meeting. When asked whether reports that the president had helped draft the statement were true, Trump Jr. said, "I don't know. I never spoke to my father about it." Many people were involved with the draft, Trump Jr. explained. He acknowledged that his father "may have commented through Hope Hicks," then the White House communications director, but maintained that he didn't ask his father for guidance because he "didn't want to bring him into something that he had nothing to do with."