President Trump on Wednesday stepped up his defense of his eldest son days after revelations surfaced regarding Donald Trump Jr.’s arrangement of a 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer said to have damaging information on Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Taking to Twitter early in the morning, the president praised Trump Jr.’s performance Tuesday night during a Fox News interview in which he sought to play down the significance of an email exchange before the meeting in which he welcomed the assistance of a “Russian government attorney.”
“My son Donald did a good job last night,” the president wrote of his son’s appearance with Fox News host Sean Hannity. “He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!”
My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2017
— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 12, 2017
Earlier, Trump -- who's remained out of public view since Saturday -- retweeted the assessment of another Fox News host, Jesse Watters, who wrote that Trump Jr. was “the victim” in the episode.
Trump remained silent over the weekend as news initially broke about the encounter with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who on Tuesday said she had not sought the meeting on behalf of the Kremlin and was interested in a different subject altogether: Russian adoptions.
Earlier Tuesday, as the New York Times was preparing to publish another story on the episode, Trump Jr. made public an email exchange in which he was told by an intermediary that the “high level” information he would be offered about Clinton was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” and would be “highly useful for your father.”
The younger Trump appeared to relish the opportunity. “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” he wrote back.
Trump on Tuesday offered only a brief defense of his son, with deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reading a statement from the president in which he said Trump Jr. “is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency.”
Later Tuesday, Trump tweeted to his 33.7 million Twitter followers that they should watch his son’s interview on “Hannity.”
During the interview, Trump Jr. said that the meeting came when “things are going a million miles per hour” in the campaign and that nothing concrete resulted.
“In retrospect I probably would have done things a little differently,” Trump Jr. said, adding: “For me, this was opposition research. They had something, you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I’d been hearing about, probably underreported for years, not just during the campaign, so I think I wanted to hear it out.”
Trump Jr. said there was no more to the meeting than a “wasted” 20 minutes.
“There isn’t anything else,” he said, promising his team had scoured his emails and no other similar documents will emerge.
The president also tweeted a warning Tuesday morning about the media.
“Remember, when you hear the words ‘sources say’ from the Fake Media, often times those sources are made up and do not exist,” Trump wrote.