Trump Signs Russian Sanctions But Calls Bill 'Seriously Flawed'

Aug 03, 2017, 00:47
Trump Signs Russian Sanctions But Calls Bill 'Seriously Flawed'

The Washington Post reports that on Air Force One during his return from the G-20 Summit, the president changed what would be said about the meeting between his son, Donald Trump Junior, and several Russians.

"The statement, issued to The New York Times as it prepared an article, emphasised that the subject of the meeting was "not a campaign issue at the time".

In reality, Trump Jr. had enthusiastically agreed to attend the meeting after being promised damaging information on Clinton as part of the Russian government's efforts to help his father's campaign.

It is one of the first major bills to land on Trump's desk since becoming president in January, but the legislation imposes restrictions on Trump himself.

Mr Trump rushed to his son's defence and lambasted what he calls a political "witch hunt".

"So as far as you know, as far as this incident is concerned, this is all of it?"

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Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America" the same day, Mr. Sekulow said: "The president didn't sign off on anything".

The last line of the President's statement drew some interest as well.

The White House had expressed concerns publicly and directly to lawmakers about the provision embedded within the bill that essentially prevents Trump from lifting existing sanctions without congressional approval, which comes after the administration had signaled that it hoped to ease tensions with Russian Federation. A misleading public statement could be used as evidence of corrupt intent, Sklansky said.

"The president weighed in as any father would, based on the limited information that he had", she said.

While it's not illegal for Trump to mislead the press, the revelation may draw more attention from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating the campaign's ties to Russian Federation. "So my understanding was, very clearly, this was Donald Trump Jr. and his lawyers", attorney Jay Sukelow said. But Monday's report describing direct involvement by Trump in the response could attract more scrutiny to Trump amid investigations by Congress and the FBI into Russian election interference.

Sekulow didn't immediately respond to a request for comment made through his spokesman, Gene Kapp.