WASHINGTON, D.C. — “That’s politics” is how President Donald Trump was describing the June 2016 meeting involving his son, Donald Trump Jr., other campaign officials and people with Russian connections.
On Monday morning, Trump again took to Twitter to defend his son after a multiple tweets about the matter this weekend.
Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That's politics!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2017
In addition to Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked lawyer, national publications have confirmed those attending the meeting included Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chair and Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist.
“This is all troubling,” said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a member of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.
“The appearance is absolutely horrible. This is something that anybody in these campaigns, knowing our adversarial relationship with Russia or any of these countries, even our NATO allies, you don’t get involved or have them coming and getting involved in your campaign.”
E-mails Trump Jr. released last week before the New York Times published them showed him agreeing to the meeting with the Russian lawyer who claimed to have “documents and information that would incriminate” Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate.
“If it’s what you say (it is) I love it,” Trump Jr. replied.
Originally, the White House had claimed the meeting was about a Russian adoption program.
On Monday, Manchin said he did not have enough information yet to determine if the meeting was for information gathering purposes or something more nefarious, possibly amounting to collusion on a larger scale.
“The quicker they can get before us, whether it be Donald Jr., Jared (Kushner) or whoever is going to come and speak, and they will all be required to that, they should do it, fess up, show us what they’ve done, how they did it, why they made these evaluations,” said Manchin.
“This is different than the private sector. In the private sector, they’re used to making deals any way they can.”
Full disclosure from the Trump Administration, he said, was what was needed. “They should want to come before us and lay the facts out,” Manchin said.
An ABC News-Washington Post poll released Sunday showed President Trump’s approval rating had declined to 36 percent which he also addressed on Twitter.
The ABC/Washington Post Poll, even though almost 40% is not bad at this time, was just about the most inaccurate poll around election time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2017
More than 60 percent of those questioned in the poll called the Russia meeting “inappropriate.”