Still insisting there's no Russia story, Donald Trump claims his son made the right move by meeting with a Russian government operative to try to derail Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Doubling down on his defense that nobody connected to his campaign, including his son or son-in-law, did anything wrong in meeting with Russian operatives last year, Donald Trump continues to insist that the unfolding scandal is a non-story and that “the Russians must be laughing” at us.
Asked specifically if his son Donald Jr. should have agreed to a meeting with an attorney from the “Russian government” last year who promised to deliver damaging information on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Trump claims the move was fine and that anybody in his son’s position would have done the same.
“Many people, and many political pros, said everybody would do that,” Trump told Reuters, in his first sit-down Q & A with a legitimate news source in two months. “If you got a call and said, 'Listen I have information on Hillary and the DNC,' or whatever it was they said, most people are going to take that meeting, I think."
Trump’s bold defense basically embraces the idea of collusion and suggests it’s fine for American politicians to partner with foreign powers during domestic American campaigns.
On Wednesday, Christopher Wray, testifying before the Senate to come the next director of the FBI, stressed that “any threat or effort to interfere with our elections from any nation-state, or any non-state actor” should immediately be reported to law enforcement.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is currently investigating allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians last year.
Channeling Fox News, Trump still insists the whole story’s a hoax.
"This is the greatest con job in history," he said, "where a party sits down the day after they got their ass kicked, and they say, 'Huh, what’s our excuse?'”
He claims the story’s also bad because it’s embarrassing the United States. “It just continues and continues, and honestly it’s a disgrace, and it’s very bad for our country. And the Russians must be laughing, because this narrative is so bad for us as a country.”
Meanwhile, the “narrative” isn’t going away.
Donald Jr. graces the new cover of Time magazine, under the headline “Red Handed.” The magazine reports, “All of Washington has awakened to the fact that the Russia issue has spiraled beyond anyone's control ... It’s only a question of how bad it will get.”
There’s word that Trump’s personal attorneys are trying to build a “wall” between himself and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who now finds himself deeply enmeshed in the growing scandal.
And in a court filing Wednesday, a nonprofit watchdog group sued the Trump campaign and longtime operative Roger Stone in connection with WikiLeaks’ publication of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee — emails that U.S. intelligence agencies concluded were stolen by Russian hackers.
The plaintiffs, including former DNC staffers, allege the Trump campaign and Stone entered “into an agreement with other parties, including agents of Russia and WikiLeaks, to have information stolen from the DNC publicly disseminated” in order to help the Trump.
The Russians are laughing, indeed.