Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

Trump applauds his "high-quality" son for "his transparency" — after Don Jr. changes his story four times

The president defended his son in a statement for being up-front, even though he was not from the very beginning


Charlie May
July 11, 2017 9:35PM (UTC)

President Donald Trump called his eldest son a "high-quality person" and applauded "his transparency" in a Tuesday afternoon statement after Don Jr. tweeted an email exchange in which he sought to obtain damaging information on Hillary Clinton that was "part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump."

However, Trump Jr. was the furthest thing from transparent, changing his story on multiple occasions throughout the New York Times' drip, drip of reporting on the previously undisclosed meeting. In fact, Trump's eldest son only decided to reveal the emails because the Times had contacted him seeking a comment, and informed him that the contents of the emails were going to be published in a story by the newspaper. He never responded with a comment and posted the email chain, according to the Times.

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Yet in a statement on Tuesday, Trump Jr. claimed he was publishing the email exchange "in order to be totally transparent."

If he was trying to be transparent, he should have been up-front from the very beginning — but he deliberately wasn't. As the Washington Post noted he, "told the New York Times in March that he might have attended meetings with Russians while the White House race was in progress — he is a businessman, after all — '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.'"

He has changed his story four times since.

On Saturday after the existence of the meeting was first reported by the Times, Don Jr. said "It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up." While this information may be true, it's deliberately selective and fails to include any of the information currently available to the public.

When the Times reported on Sunday that the meeting was formed so Trump's son could receive damaging information on Clinton, he defended himself by saying, "After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information."

Then on Monday after the Times reported Trump's son was told prior to the meeting that the intent was for the Russian's to help aid his father's campaign, he once defended himself. This time he downplayed the severity of what he was actually doing, and labeled at is nothing out of the ordinary.

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The president's son also defended himself on Twitter, retweeting comments from various Trump loyalists like Charlie Kirk, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Bill O'Reilly, and one of the primary leaders of the Brexit charge, Nigel Farage.

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Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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