Jay Sekulow: "There was nothing in that meeting that is illegal, against the law"

In five Sunday news show interviews Trump's lawyer downplayed Don Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer


Charlie May
July 16, 2017 6:33PM (UTC)

Jay Sekulow, a member of President Donald Trump's legal team, said on Sunday that the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer was not "against the law."

Last Tuesday the president's son tweeted an email exchange with former tabloid journalist Rob Goldstone in which he was told that he would be given "very high level and sensitive information" that was "part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump." Some experts have said that a federal offense was likely committed, even if the president's son didn't actually receive any information. Trump's son-in-law and White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, also attended the meeting, as well as the campaign chairman at the time, Paul Manafort.

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"There was nothing in that meeting that is illegal, against the law," Sekulow told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace. "The meeting, the discussion was not a violation of the law."

Wallace asked if the previous repeated denials of contacts between Kremlin-connected Russians and the Trump campaign were suspicious, but Sekulow didn't directly answer the question at first. "The question I asked you, Jay, is whether or not the denials are suspect? I didn't ask you about James Comey," Wallace said.

"I do not think the denials are suspect. I do not think the denial by the president of the United States is suspect at all," Sekulow insisted.

Sekulow appeared on five Sunday morning news shows and had a similar exchange on "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd. "Mr. Sekulow, I didn't ask you about James Comey. I asked you about the specific email," Todd said, after asking Sekulow if "reasonable people" could conclude that the president's son's email chain was cause for an investigation.

"If there's an investigation you're looking at what law may have been violated here," Sekulow said. "And again, the meeting and what took place at the meeting based on all the information that you just said is not a violation of any law, statute or code."

Throughout his interviews Sekulow continued to insist that Trump had no prior knowledge of the arranged meeting. "The meeting in and of itself of course, as I’ve said before, is not a violation of the law, but I think it’s important to understand that, as counsel to the president, the president was not aware of the meeting and did not participate in it," Sekulow said on ABC's "This Week."

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When asked if he agreed that the FBI should have been notified of Russia's attempt to aid the Trump campaign, Sekulow replied by asking why the Secret Service had not prevented the meeting. "Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in. The president had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me."


Charlie May

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

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