Donald Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he couldn’t remember whether he had discussed the Russian investigation with his father.
The Senate panel released thousands of pages of transcripts from interviews conducted as part of the congressional investigation of Russia election interference, including an hours-long interview with the president’s eldest son.
“I appreciate the opportunity to have assisted the Judiciary Committee in its inquiry,” Trump Jr. said Wednesday in a statement. “The public can now see that for over five hours I answered every question asked and was candid and forthright with the Committee.”
Trump Jr. told the panel that he did not recall whether his father, President Donald Trump, had known about a meeting he helped set up with a Russian attorney promising damaging campaign information about Hillary Clinton.
“I mean, obviously he’s aware of it now because he’s read it, it’s been in the papers, but that’s the extent of my knowledge of his knowledge about it,” Trump Jr. testified.
He said his father did not express surprise about the meeting or ask why he wasn’t told about it.
“Frankly, by the time anyone was aware of it, which was summer of this year (2017), as I stated earlier, I wouldn’t have wanted to get him involved in it because it had nothing to do with him.”
Trump Jr. said he never spoke to his father about a statement about the meeting that later proved misleading, although he admits the president had some involvement in producing the document — which the special counsel is investigating as possible obstruction of justice.
“He may have commented through Hope Hicks,” Trump Jr. said, referring to the former White House aide.
The president’s son said some of Trump’s comments provided through Hicks may have been incorporated into the final statement.
“I believe some may have been, but this was an effort through lots of people , mostly counsel,” Trump Jr. said. “She asked if I wanted to actually speak to him, and I chose not to because I didn’t want to bring him into some thing that he had nothing to do with.”
Trump Jr. said the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, did not provide damaging campaign information but instead wanted to discuss the Magnitsky Act imposing sanctions on Russian oligarchs and adoption laws.
“I proceeded to quickly and politely end the meeting by telling Ms. Veselnitskaya that because my daughter was a private citizen that there did not seem to be any point for having this discussion,” Trump Jr. said.
Senate investigators also asked Trump Jr. to identify the person he spoke to by phone in between phone calls with Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop singer acquaintance who brokered the Trump Tower meeting.
Phone logs show Agalarov called Trump Jr. at 4:04 p.m. on June 6, 2016, to discuss the Veselnitskaya meeting, and then the president’s son had a four-minute call with someone who used a blocked number before calling back the Russian singer at 4:31 p.m.
A Senate investigator asked Trump Jr. whether his father used a blocked number, and he said he did not know.
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WATCH: The Mueller Report Star-Studded Live Stream Video
So this happened. Eighteen of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities convened to bring The Mueller Report to the stage – and the star power behind the effort was mind-boggling.
The players included Annette Bening, Kevin Kline, John Lithgow, Frederick Weller, Ben McKenzie, Michael Shannon, Noah Emmerich, Justin Long, Jason Alexander, Gina Gershon, Wilson Cruz, Joel Grey, Alyssa Milano, Kyra Sedgwick, Alfre Woodard, Piper Perabo, Zachary Quinto, and Aidan Quinn.
The live reading, titled The Investigation: A Search for the Truth in Ten Acts, was written by Robert Schenkkan and presented by Law Works Monday night.
Now, without further ado: watch history unfold before your eyes.
‘I Was Happy to Do It for You’ GOP Congressman Who Threatened Michael Cohen Tells Trump: Report
President Donald Trump reportedly called Rep. Matt Gaetz Wednesday night. Gaetz, the Florida Republican who very publicly threatened Michael Cohen, told President Trump he was “happy to do it for you,” according to a reporter for The Atlantic.
Gaetz, after a warning from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and massive outrage across the nation, apologized to Cohen for the threat, which many agree was designed to intimidate him just hours before his explosive testimony Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee.
The Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere posted this tweet Thursday morning:
President Trump called @mattgaetz last night from Hanoi to talk the Cohen testimony and the threats (since rescinded) Gaetz made about Cohen.
“I was happy to do it for you. You just keep killing it,” Gaetz was heard telling him.
(Gaetz told me he doesn’t discuss calls w/POTUS)
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) February 28, 2019
Dovere adds to his reporting that Trump called Gaetz “as he headed into his meetings” with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Trump was in Hanoi to broker a denuclearization deal. Talks ended quickly and abruptly, and for the second time there is no deal.
Dovere’s report has not been confirmed by other news outlets.
Gaetz is now facing an investigation by the Florida Bar Association for the threat he made to Cohen. It’s possible the House Ethics Committee could also investigate, especially after Speaker Pelosi suggested they “vigilantly monitor” possible intimidation of witnesses by Members of Congress.
Former Obama Office of Government Ethics chief Walter Shaub weighed in on Dovere’s report that Trump had called Gaetz, suggesting the Florida Bar use that information as part of its investigation:
.@TheFlaBar, this is relevant to your investigation of @mattgaetz: (1) he threatened a committee witness; (2) he’s not a committee member; (3) his allegations were not raised in the hearing, suggesting he had no basis; and now (4) he reportedly admitted to doing it for Trump.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) February 28, 2019
Trump Told a Reporter Off the Record Russia Was Falsely Accused of Interfering in US Election: Report
The New York Times is reporting on President Donald Trump‘s five “mystery” meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the wide-ranging and lengthy article, several odd and disturbing events stand out.
First, video of President Trump in July of 2017 at a G-20 dinner, the one where First Lady Melania Trump sat next to Putin and President Trump later went to speak with Putin without any U.S. officials present.
What was especially odd about that dinner was, aside from there is no record of what the two world leaders said to each other, this video that was not widely reported on.
Here’s how The Times describes it:
“Videotape later made public showed Mr. Trump pointing at Mr. Putin, who was seated across and down a long table, then pointing at himself and then making a pumping motion with his fist.”
Here is that video. It’s hard to make out and the quality is poor but President Trump can be seen in the lower left corner of the image:
Here’s Donald Trump desperately trying to get Vlad’s attention at the G20 dinner. pic.twitter.com/5sIKuJvtu8
— Jennifer Hayden (@Scout_Finch) July 19, 2017
Also disturbing is that President Trump, according to The Times, a day after that G-20 Summit, called a Times reporter and told them that Russia was wrongly accused of interfering in the U.S. election.
Again, direct from The Times:
“The day after the two meetings, as Mr. Trump was on Air Force One taking off from Germany heading back to Washington, he telephoned a Times reporter and argued that the Russians were falsely accused of election interference. While he insisted most of the conversation be off the record, he later repeated a few things in public in little-noticed asides.”
One more aspect of the Times article that has received the most attention.
President Trump “said that he raised the election hacking three times and that Mr. Putin denied involvement. But he said Mr. Putin also told him that ‘if we did, we wouldn’t have gotten caught because we’re professionals.’ Mr. Trump said: ‘I thought that was a good point because they are some of the best in the world’ at hacking.”
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