Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said, “We can’t accept anything Don Jr. says” about his 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer.
“Of course we can’t accept much the president says about this either,” Schiff (D-Calif.) told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl on “This Week” Sunday about the meeting that the president’s eldest son had in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer.
The California Democrat also said he doesn’t accept the representation by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow in an earlier interview on “This Week” that no laws were broken in the meeting.
“To accept the attorney’s representation that no crime was committed here, you have to accept Don Jr’s representations,” Schiff said, “We’ve already seen many times we can’t rely on that.”
When it came to light last week that Donald Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in June 2016, the president’s son gave different accounts of the encounter. He said at one point the meeting was only about Russian adoptions, then later admitted the intent was to gather dirt on then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
Schiff said, “Here you have now, evidence in black and white that, yes, the campaign was encouraging the Russians to give them dirt.”
“This is about as clear … evidence [as] you could find of intent by the campaign to collude with the Russians, to get useful information from the Russians,” he said.
The Democrat added that President Trump “has a similar record of not being forthcoming when it comes to Russia.”
“If you look at the president’s statements around this time [of Don Jr.’s meeting], he announces a speech he’s going to give where he’s going to give the dirt on Hillary Clinton that he then cancels,” said Schiff.
“That would corroborate that Don Jr. didn’t get the information he was hoping for. But of course, it contradicts the idea that [the president] was unaware” of the meeting, the congressman said.
When asked if President Trump is under investigation by the special counsel, Schiff said, “I can’t comment on who Bob Mueller may be looking at. But clearly we want to in the congressional committees determine just what the Russians did, who was knowing of it, who was participating in it, and of course the president very publicly encouraged Russia to do exactly what Don Jr. was encouraging Russia to do privately, that is give us the dirt on Hillary Clinton.”