White House rips 'ridiculous accusation' that Trump Jr. meeting was 'treasonous'

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday blasted the "ridiculous accusation" attributed to former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon that a 2016 meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony House Intel Dem: Bannon asserted ‘very novel’ definition of executive privilege during testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members MORE was ”treasonous." 

Sanders criticized Bannon, who is quoted in excerpts of a new book on President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE, during her press briefing, going on to add that Bannon had previously defended the president from charges of collusion with Russia during a September interview on CBS's "60 Minutes."

“That is a ridiculous accusation and one that I'm pretty sure we’ve addressed many times from here before. ... I'd refer you back to the comments he made previously on '60 Minutes' where he called the collusion with Russia about this president a total farce," she said. 


"Going after the president’s son and in an absolutely outrageous and unprecedented way is probably not the best way to curry favor with anybody," she added. 

The comments attributed to Bannon in "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," a forthcoming book by Michael Wolff, come in reference to a 2016 meeting where Trump Jr., Trump's son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerHope Hicks to meet with House Intel in Russia probe: report US officials warned Kushner about friendship with Wendi Deng Murdoch: report Overnight Regulation: Fight erupts over gun export rules | WH meets advocates on prison reform | Officials move to allow Medicaid work requirements | New IRS guidance on taxes MORE and then-campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John Manafort'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Overnight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector Manafort associate Richard Gates no longer under home confinement MORE met with a Russian lawyer they’d been told could offer dirt on then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) MORE.

That meeting has become the center of intrigue as part of the investigation into allegations of collusion between Russian actors and Trump campaign officials. 

According to emails released by Trump Jr., a publicist reached out to say that the Russians had "offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate" Clinton. But Trump Jr. and others have contended that the Russians did not offer any such evidence and only sought to talk about adoption policy and easing sanctions on Russia. 

During her press conference, Sanders also denied another allegation from the book, where Bannon is quoted saying that he believes Trump Jr. would have brought the Russians upstairs to Trump's own office. 

"He wasn’t part of or aware of that," she said, repeating a past assertion that Trump only found out about the meeting well after the fact.