Jay Sekulow, an attorney for President Donald Trump, said “bad information” was to blame for a false statement he previously made regarding the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016.
During an appearance Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Sekulow brushed off his initial faulty assertion last July that Trump didn’t help craft Donald Trump Jr.’s response to news reports about his meeting with a Russian operative.
“I was in the case at that point, what, a couple of weeks, and there was a lot of information that was gathering,” Sekulow said Sunday. “As my colleague [Trump attorney] Rudy Giuliani said, I had bad information at that time. I made a mistake in my statement. ... That happens when you have cases like this.”
The president’s role in drafting the letter could cause him problems if it’s seen as an attempt to obstruct special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian collusion with his campaign.
It could also cause problems for Trump’s son, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last September that he didn’t have a clear idea who was responsible for the misleading statement. Trump Jr. had initially said the meeting was about the so-called adoption issue, believed to refer to the Magnitsky Act, which Congress passed as a sanction on Russian officials and led Russia, in response, to ban U.S. families from adopting Russian children.
Sekulow had told ABC in July 2017 that Trump “wasn’t involved” in drafting Trump Jr.’s statement downplaying the meeting ― in which he actually sought dirt on his father’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton leading up to the 2016 election.
“The president didn’t sign off on anything,” Sekulow had told ABC.
Roughly a month later, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders revealed to reporters that Trump had weighed in on his son’s statement but did not personally dictate it.
But Trump’s legal team contradicted both assertions this January when they told Mueller’s office that Trump had indeed dictated his son’s response.
Sekulow was also asked Sunday when he learned his statement about Trump’s involvement in the Trump Jr. statement wasn’t true. But Sekulow ducked the question, insisting instead that “over time, facts develop.”
“As far as when did we correct it, the important part is, the information that we’ve shared with the Office of Special Counsel ... we were very clear as to the situation involving that trip and the statements that were made to The New York Times,” Sekulow told ABC.
Trump on Sunday railed against recent reports from the Times and The Washington Post claiming he was concerned Trump Jr. could be facing legal trouble related to Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere,” Trump tweeted, publicly acknowledging for the first time that his son had attempted to gain political opposition research from the Russians.