President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow did “the Full Ginsburg” on the Sunday news shows, but during his appearance on Fox News Sunday he may not have found the friendly reception he was hoping for.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace came armed with clips and piercing questions that stymied Sekulow, forcing him to shift his story and contradict his client.
Wallace asked him if the eagerness with which Donald Trump Jr. was willing to meet with a woman described as part of a Russian government effort to elect his father doesn’t, at the very least, destroy the argument that the investigation is a “witch hunt” based on a “hoax.”
“[D]oesn’t [Trump Jr.’s email response] show intent and willingness on the part of Don, Jr., and Jared and Paul Manafort to collude with the Russians?” Wallace asked.
First of all, nothing happened. There’d be no exchange of information. But in and of itself, that meeting, the relevancy of the differential that you just put forward, the relevancy of whether it was a Russian lawyer or other individuals that Donald Trump, Jr., knew, the fact is what took place during that meeting, even on the basis of the emails as Donald Trump, Jr., laid them out, were not violations of the statutes.
So, when you talk about Russian collusion, colluding to do what? What? Colluding to violate what law?
Thus, President Trump’s lawyer shifted from saying that the investigation and the stories in the press about it are “fake news” to saying that what they are accused of doing is not, specifically, illegal.
Sekulow did point out that no previous court ruling has ever determined that opposition research is “a thing of value” that would violate campaign finance law. However, this just means that it’s an open question whether or not the courts would rule it was or wasn’t.
He also accused Wallace of “conflating” what actually happened in the meeting and what was promised.
Finally, Sekulow tried to push the latest pro-Trump deflection: that the DNC actually “colluded” with Ukrainians to try to get damaging information on Paul Manafort.
This is based on a January Politico report about how Ukrainian officials feared Trump as a pro-Russia candidate and worked to “quietly” boost Clinton. However, right-wing media types have exaggerating and speculating this into a “scandal” on-par with what President Trump faces.
In reality, a former DNC official tried to convince Ukrainian officials to do public interviews about Manafort’s time in the country, something they declined.
The official, Alexandra Chalupa who happens to be Ukrainian-American, said she sought answers to questions and “leads” for her own investigation from these Ukrainian officials (along with journalists and American political figures). “There were no documents given, nothing like that,” she said.
Ironically, if this is what Team Trump is trying to paint as a scandal for the other side, it only seems to make the Trump transgressions seem worse by comparison. If simply answering an operative’s question is “collusion” on the part of the DNC, so was taking that 2016 meeting with the Russian attorney.
You can watch the full 15-minute interview below:
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