GOP lawmaker: ‘Nobody’s going to be surprised’ if Trump approved Russia meeting
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Saturday downplayed renewed scrutiny over whether President Trump knew in advance about his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election, saying “nobody’s going to be surprised.”
Issa was pressed by Fox News’s Neil Cavuto during an interview on whether Trump could face legal consequences if proof emerges that he knew about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting that was billed to Donald Trump Jr. as “part of Russia and its government’s support” for Trump.
“If he’s proven to have not told the whole truth about the fact that campaigns look for dirt, and if someone offers it, you listen to them, nobody’s going to be surprised,” Issa told Cavuto. “There are some things in politics that you just take for granted.”
“You don’t think this has any long-term impact?” Cavuto pressed. “He wouldn’t be the first politician, or president for that matter, to maybe just misrepresent things?”
“Businessmen listen to almost everyone who might be helpful, and by the way, they make pragmatic decisions about how to make bad stories go away,” Issa replied.
Issa also attacked Trump’s former longtime attorney and fixer Michael Cohen in the interview for his supposed betrayal of Trump’s trust by secretly recording some of their conversations.
Cohen’s attorney this week provided a recording to CNN of Trump and Cohen discussing a possible payment to American Media Inc. to purchase the rights to the story of Karen McDougal, an ex-Playboy model who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006.
“A turncoat lawyer, a lawyer who deserves to be disbarred for a number of his actions including recording his client clandestinely, makes a much better story than ‘Businessman Makes America Great Again,’ ” Issa told Fox News.
The recording shocked Washington and seemed to reveal that Trump had prior knowledge about a payment surrounding McDougal’s claims.
Trump’s current lawyer Rudy Giuliani told The Washington Post that no such payment was ever made and he blasted Cohen in a CNN interview this week, calling him a “pathological liar.”
Cohen also made headlines this week after CNN reported that he was claiming Trump knew in advance about the controversial meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-linked attorney who promised compromising information on Clinton in 2016.
The meeting has become a main focus of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation, which is examining allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
Trump on Friday insisted in a tweet that he didn’t know about the Trump Tower meeting while accusing Cohen of making up the claim to get out of legal scrutiny from federal prosecutors in New York.