The controversial meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya remained in the news over the weekend. The story, it seems, will retain the spotlight as lawmakers from both parties continue to argue about the meeting’s implications and new details keep emerging from various news sources.
One of President Donald Trump’s lawyers appeared on all five major news channels to present his defense, claiming that the president had absolutely no idea about the meeting, he also rejected the notion that the meeting violated laws.
However, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s vice chairman, Mark Warner, believes that the recent revelations regarding the meeting between Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya will force the committee to take the Russian investigation to a whole new level.
The meeting, which took place back in June 2016, included Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr., the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and then campaign manager Paul Manafort.
After The New York Times first reported about the meeting just last weekend, several new details have emerged. Donald Trump Jr. went as far as to publish his email correspondence with Rob Goldstone, a music publicist and the intermediary between Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya.
While the White House maintains its stance that the Trump campaign did not coordinate with Moscow during the elections in any way, several lawmakers and investigation authorities have begun questioning the June 2016 meeting.
“Nothing in that meeting that would have taken place even if it was about the topic of an opposition research paper from the Russian lawyer is illegal or a violation of the law,” Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said on “Fox News Sunday.”
However, Senator Mark Warner (D – Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had some serious questions about Trump Jr.’s meeting, saying he wanted to hear everyone’s side of the story.
He claimed he found it very difficult to believe that Trump wasn’t told about the meeting during the elections.
“It’s a little unbelievable that neither the son nor the son-in-law ever shared that information with their dad, the candidate,” Warner said.
Trump’s attorney has also emphasized on the fact that the president had no knowledge of the meeting until recently.
“The level of credibility from the senior levels of this administration really is suspect, and I think suspect regardless of what political party you belong to,” Warner added.
“This is the first time that the public has seen in black and white on the email thread clear evidence that the Russians — and particularly there was a Russian government effort to try to undermine [Hillary] Clinton, help Trump,” Warner said on “Face The Nation,” on CBS.
“And what was remarkable was you saw not only willingness but actually glee from the president’s son as well as involvement of the campaign manager and the president’s son-in-law to say in effect, ‘Yes, bring it on.’”
According to Warner, Trump Jr. hasn’t been very honest about the meeting, saying that he’s changed his story numerous times in a week since the story broke out. The president’s eldest son took to twitter on Tuesday, to release a series of emails between him and the intermediary, before the meeting.
Warner further said he wanted to talk to more people who were involved in the meeting. “I think we may find out there may have been other meetings as well,” he said. “We don’t know that yet. But what we’ve seen is a constant effort to hide contacts with Russians.”
Trump’s lawyer, talking to CBS’ Face The Nation, denied claims that Trump knew anything about the meeting.
“He said he has had no meetings, was aware of no meetings with Russians, was not aware of this one until really right before it all broke,” he said.
But Warner says this meeting aligns perfectly with the allegations that the campaign has attempted to cover up its contacts with the Russians.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff (Cali) while speaking on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, said that he thinks people can’t rely on Trump Jr. word.
“We can’t accept anything Don Jr. says, and of course, and we can’t accept much the president says about this either, because he has a similar record of not being forthcoming when it comes to Russia,” Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Several investigations are looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race.