Fox News host Sean Hannity told Donald Trump Jr. that he had run out of questions about the president’s son and a Russian government effort to help his father win the election. “I wanted to ask every question I could think of regarding this issue,” Hannity confided. “I can’t think of any more in all honesty.”
What about: Mr. Trump, you received an email that explicitly described a Russian government effort to help elect your father. Do you consider Russia to be an adversary of the United States? If not, why not? If so, why did that not set off alarm bells? You say, “People are trying to reach out to you all the time with this.” Are any of these people from foreign governments? In retrospect, do you believe this meeting to have been appropriate or not?
Mr. Trump, you said you received the email “pre-Russia mania … I don’t even think my sirens went up.” But the email described the information as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Is that effort something about which you had previous knowledge?
Just to be clear, did the email chain you shared with your brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort include the reference to the Russian government’s effort to help the Trump campaign? Were they aware of the identity of the Russian lawyer and her alleged government connection, before, during or after the meeting? Please describe any in-person, email or other discussions you had with them, before or after the meeting, about the meeting or any other Russian involvement with the campaign.
Please describe the conversation at the meeting in more detail. What incriminating information did the lawyer suggest there might be about Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party? Did she ask that your father, if he became president, lift sanctions on Russia?
Mr. Trump, when you were asked whether you met with other Russians during the course of the campaign, you left the door pretty wide open: “I don’t even know. I’ve probably met with other people from Russia, certainly not in the context of an actual, a formalized meeting or anything like that.” Let’s back up. What other meetings with Russians, whether formal or incidental encounters, do you recall during the course of the campaign?
Speaking of recalling, as you said, the meeting took place before the story about Russian involvement with the campaign exploded. After those reports came out, did you mention this encounter to anyone from the campaign? Why not? Did you not think it might be relevant?
Indeed, in a July 2016 interview with CNN, you called suggestions that Russians were behind the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails “disgusting” and “phony,” adding, “I can’t think of bigger lies, but that exactly goes to show you what the DNC and what the Clinton camp will do. They will lie and do anything to win.” Had you forgotten about the meeting you attended a month earlier? If not, what is your explanation for that statement?
Similarly, in an interview with the New York Times in March, you said, “Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did. But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.” Asked whether you had ever discussed government policies related to Russia, you said, “A hundred percent no.”
Given that you had a meeting with a Russian lawyer to discuss government policies related to Russia, and that it was attended by two other senior campaign officials, how do you justify that statement?
You said you did not mention the meeting to your father at the time because “it was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell.” Please describe how and when you informed your father of the meeting, or, if you did not do so directly, how he was informed. Please describe any conversations you have had with your father, his attorneys or White House officials about the meeting.
Mr. Trump, you said that you released the emails because “I wanted to get it all out there” and you accused critics of “trying to drag out the story. … They want to drip a little bit today, drip a little bit then.”
But you have provided shifting accounts of the meeting, first describing it as being “primarily” about the adoption program. Only when confronted did you acknowledge that it concerned possible dirt on Clinton. You claimed you did not know the name of the lawyer you were meeting but did not acknowledge you knew she was Russian and described as a “Russian government attorney.” You released the emails only after being informed that the New York Times was about to do so. Who is trying to drag out the story? Does this constitute transparency, in your view?
Mr. Trump, it has been reported that the meeting was unearthed by lawyers for your brother-in-law as they scoured his records to determine how to amend his security clearance forms. Just out of curiosity, how do you think this story leaked?