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Trump lawyer says nothing illegal in son's Russia meeting

By Associated Press

This article was published July 16, 2017 at 1:57 p.m.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's attorney insisted Sunday there was nothing illegal in the meeting Trump's eldest son had with a Russian lawyer during last year's presidential campaign.

Donald Trump Jr.'s willingness to meet with the lawyer in the expectation of receiving incriminating information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has raised new questions about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The information had been described as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

The president's attorney, Jay Sekulow, defended Trump and his son in a series of appearances Sunday on five television networks.

"Nothing in that meeting that would have taken place, even if it was about the topic of an opposition research paper from a Russian lawyer, is illegal or a violation of the law," Sekulow said on "Fox News Sunday," a point he repeated several times. He said the president did not attend the meeting and was not aware of it.

The attorney's focus on the law appears aimed at moving beyond the shifting accounts of the meeting given by Trump Jr. At first, the June 2016 meeting was said to be about a Russian adoption program. Then, it was to hear information about Clinton. Finally, Trump Jr. was compelled to release emails that revealed he had told an associate that he would "love" Russia's help in obtaining incriminating information about the Democratic nominee.

The number of people known to be at the meeting also changed over time. As recently as Friday, Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist and former Soviet military officer, confirmed his participation to The Associated Press.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that he wants everyone who attended the meeting to appear before his committee, one of several in Congress investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election and potential coordination with the Trump campaign.

In addition to Trump Jr. others in the Trump Tower meeting included Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, both of whom played major roles in the campaign.

"I want to hear from everyone in that meeting and get their version of the story, as well as I think we may find out there may have been other meetings as well. We don't know that yet," Warner, D-Va., said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Sekulow said he was not aware of any other meetings involving Russians. "I represent the president of the United States, but Donald Trump Jr. said not in the context of formal meetings. He said he may have met with Russian people, as a lot of people meet with Russian people, so that's not unusual," Sekulow said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Trump himself came to the defense of his son, who he said "is being scorned by the Fake News Media." The president ended a series of Sunday morning tweets by writing: "With all of its phony unnamed sources & highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting, #Fake News is DISTORTING DEMOCRACY in our country!"


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TimberTopper says... July 16, 2017 at 4:04 p.m.

I'd think it was illegal, as he was planning to get help from the Russians to tilt the election.

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BoudinMan says... July 16, 2017 at 5:36 p.m.

That must be the bar now. If it's not illegal, then it's okay. Sad.

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REV2018 says... July 16, 2017 at 5:57 p.m.


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REV2018 says... July 16, 2017 at 6 p.m.

Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller:

"...The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media, and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned."

The powers of the president … will not be questioned?

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REV2018 says... July 16, 2017 at 6:07 p.m.

—Trumpcare is a disastrous health care proposal.

Republicans have put their wealthy friends ahead of the health and safety of Americans, and I will do everything I can to stop this bill before it wrecks our economy and Americans’ health and lives.

Here’s what you need to know about Trumpcare:

It harms Medicare.
TRUMPCARE repeals the Medicare payroll taxes paid by the wealthiest. It robs Medicare of the funding it needs to make good on the Medicare promise of guaranteed health benefits.

Repealing this and another special tax break for the wealthy amounts to a $275 billion tax cut for only the wealthiest.

It’s terrible for seniors
TRUMPCARE forces older Americans to pay 5 times the amount younger Americans will—an age tax—and slashes Medicaid benefits for nursing home care that two out of three Americans in nursing homes rely on. Senior and patient advocates like AARP and physician and healthcare worker groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Nurses Association strongly oppose Trumpcare.

It hurts women and their families.
TRUMPCARE guts Medicaid, eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood, and decimates coverage of family planning services, including contraception.

It makes health care for rural Americans even harder to get.
Hospitals and rural health clinics may need to close due to restricted funding, hurting families who already struggle to receive health care.

I believe that health care is a human right—not a luxury for the wealthy. How could anyone stand by this disastrous plan and say it’s a good idea?

Republicans are trying to railroad Trumpcare through, but I will be fighting tooth and nail in the Senate to prevent this dangerous proposal from replacing the Affordable Care Act and ending the reforms we fought so hard to achieve.

So many lives depend on it.

Ron Wyden

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REV2018 says... July 16, 2017 at 6:08 p.m.

Cobb is a liar.

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