Trump Jr.: I don't know if Trump had role in statement about Trump Tower meeting

Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpCould President Trump's talk of a 'red wave' cause his supporters to stay home in midterms? Trump Jr. defends James Woods over Twitter lockout: 'The bias continues!' Goldstone regrets setting up Trump Tower meeting with Russians MORE told lawmakers he does not know whether his father, President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE, had a role in drafting his initial, misleading statement about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, according to transcripts released Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, during the summer of 2016 after being offered dirt on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2016 pollsters erred by not weighing education on state level, says political analyst Could President Trump's talk of a 'red wave' cause his supporters to stay home in midterms? Dem group targets Trump in M voter registration campaign: report MORE, the Democratic nominee for president. The meeting has been investigated by lawmakers and by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE.

The Washington Post reported last July that Trump was personally involved in drafting a statement that Trump Jr. issued on June 8. The president, while flying aboard Air Force One, reportedly dictated that the statement say that his son and Veselnitskaya had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.”

ADVERTISEMENT


"I don't know. I never spoke to my father about it," Trump Jr. replied when asked about this during his September Senate interview about his father's reported involvement in the statement.

Staff on the committee also asked Trump Jr., “To the best of your knowledge, did the President provide any edits to the statement or other input?”

“He may have commented through Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksHouse panel signals Russia probe document dump before midterms White House aides tried to get Trump to fact-check his tweets: Woodward book Omarosa: Trump hired Hope Hicks because she is pretty MORE,” Trump Jr. replied, referring to the former White House communications aide.

Trump Jr. added that he believes some of his comments, given through Hicks, were incorporated into his statement — a process in which a handful of people were involved.

He also maintained that he did not talk to his father “because I didn’t want to bring him into some thing that he had nothing to do with." 

Additionally, when asked why his statements were inconsistent, Trump Jr. pushed back, saying they were "all very consistent with each other."

"The initial statement was discussing exactly what the meeting was about. It ended up being about that," the president's eldest son said in part.

"It did not talk about what got them into the door and I didn't expand on it because I didn't think it was relevant to discuss what the meeting was not actually about even if that's what the email was. As more questions were asked and more information was requested we released more information and went into greater detail," he continued.

The White House and Trump Jr. have defended the meeting as appropriate, emphasizing that Veselnitskaya sought it out under false pretenses to press the case for repealing a U.S. sanctions law that had led the Kremlin to ban Americans from adopting from Russia. Trump Jr. has said the meeting was a waste of time.

Following the release of the records, Trump Jr. said the transcripts show he cooperated with the committee's investigation, which he did voluntarily.

"I appreciate the opportunity to have assisted the Judiciary committee in its inquiry. The public can now see that for over five hours I answered every question asked an was candid and forthright with the committee," Trump Jr. said.

The committee also interviewed Rob Goldstone, the music producer who set up the meeting with Veselnitskaya.

Jonathan Easley contributed. Updated at 10:21 a.m.