Jay Sekulow, one of the attorneys representing President Donald Trump in the Russia investigation, previously denied on CNN that his client was involved with crafting a misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer.
Now The Washington Post reported Monday evening that the President dictated the misleading statement.
Here’s the July 12 exchange between Sekulow and CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day”:
CUOMO: So he didn’t have anything to do with the statement that Don Jr. put out that was being worked on with his team?
SEKULOW: No. The statement that Don Jr. put out. You talking about yesterday, Chris?
CUOMO: The one over the weekend that the President’s team was helping with.
SEKULOW: No, that was written by Donald Trump, Jr. and I’m sure with consultation with his lawyer.
CUOMO: Because The New York Times is reporting that the President OK’d the statement.
SEKULOW: Well, they’re incorrect.
CUOMO: The New York Times is wrong?
SEKULOW: Yeah, I know. Is that shocking that they sometimes make a mistake?
Sekulow gave a similar, initial response to CNN’s Jake Tapper when asked about whether the President signed off on the statement, saying “that is not true.”
The Post, citing multiple people with knowledge of the situation, said the original plan in response to the New York Times’ reporting was to issue a truthful statement ahead of the story, but then Trump personally decided to have the statement say Trump Jr. had met with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to discuss adoption of Russian children by people in the US.
The Post reports that Trump dictated the statement while flying back to Washington from the G20 summit in Hamburg, aboard Air Force One.
But last month, Sekulow told Cuomo that the President had no involvement.
“I wasn’t involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the President. I’m assuming that was between Mr. Donald Trump Jr., between Don Jr. and his lawyer. I’m sure his lawyer was involved, that’s how you do it,” he said. “So to put this on the President, I think is absolutely incorrect.”
Sekulow also called the Post’s reporting “inaccurate” Monday.
“Apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate and not pertinent,” he said in a statement to CNN after the Post published its story on Monday.
Sekulow also previously stated that the President was not aware of the meeting with the Russian attorney, did not attend the meeting and was only made aware of the emails recently.
According to the Post, advisers to Trump and his family said that Trump was essentially acting as his own lawyer and strategist and disregarding the advice of experts.