Trump Jr. says he did not work directly with his father on misleading Trump Tower statement: report

Trump Jr. says he did not work directly with his father on misleading Trump Tower statement: report

Donald Trump Jr., President TrumpDonald John TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations MORE's eldest son, said Wednesday that he spoke with a member of senior staff rather than directly with his father about crafting a response this past summer acknowledging his controversial June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians.

Trump Jr., speaking behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee, did not dispute that his father was involved in crafting the statement but said that he did not speak with President Trump directly about it, according to CNN.

 
ADVERTISEMENT

He said that he spoke with White House communications director Hope Hicks instead. Hicks talked to the president while crafting the statement, according to CNN's sources. 

Reports previously had said the president was directly involved in helping his son craft the statement about the meeting.  

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said in August that the president weighed in on the statement "as any father would." Other Trump aides denied a Washington Post report that Trump "dictated" the statement.
 
Trump Jr. said Trump weighed in on whether to release a longer or shorter statement while the president and Hicks flew back from a G-20 Summit in Germany aboard Air Force One, multiple sources with knowledge of his testimony told CNN.

The president's son's remarks to the panel of lawmakers, who are investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, come during a voluntary, hours-long interview behind closed doors.

CNN also reported that Trump Jr. failed to recall "key details" about the White House response. 

The president's eldest son came under scrutiny earlier this year when reports surfaced that he met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya after an associate promised him that she could provide incriminating information on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLewandowski says 'womp womp' at story of young girl being separated from mother at border Giuliani: FBI asked me about tease of a 'surprise' before election Republicans tear into IG finding on Clinton probe MORE's campaign.

Trump Jr. in his initial statement in July said the two talked "about the adoption of Russian children," likely meaning Russia's ban on adoptions by Americans, and denied that the meeting was related to the campaign.

His statement on the matter, however, continued to evolve through additional media reports and Trump Jr. ultimately acknowledged in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in early September that he spoke to the Russian lawyer about Clinton.

He said he wanted to review information the Russian representatives had "concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate."

"I believed that I should at least hear them out,” Trump Jr. added.