White House defends president’s effort to help write Trump Jr. statement

The White House on Tuesday defended President Trump’s decision to help write his eldest son’s statement about his election-year meeting with a Russian lawyer, calling it “something any father would do.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders disputed the fact that the statement to The New York Times contained inaccurate or misleading information, telling reporters it “is true.”

Her comments appeared to largely confirm a Washington Post report that the president was personally involved in drafting the statement, which could open him up to further legal scrutiny. 

But she appeared to deny that he dictated the statement to an assistant.

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“He certainly didn’t dictate. But he weighed in, offered suggestions like any father would do,” she said.

Sanders criticized Democrats and the news media for being obsessed with the investigation into whether Trump associates colluded with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election. 

“This is all discussion, frankly, of no consequence,” she said. “There was no follow up, it was disclosed to the proper parties, which is how The New York Times found out about it to begin with. The Democrats want to continue to use this as a PR stunt and are doing everything they can to keep this story alive.”

Sanders's comments appeared to contradict previous denials from Trump's legal team that he helped craft the statement. 

“Apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate, and not pertinent,” attorney Jay Sekulow said Monday in a statement to the Post. 
 
In a July 16 interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," Sekulow said that "the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement."