CNN anchor Jake Tapper clashed with Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow over Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian operatives in the hopes of obtaining damaging research procured by the Russia government against Hillary Clinton.
As revelations regarding meeting continue to come to light, Sekulow has tried to position the issues in terms of legalities, rather than the potential ethical issues, something that he claims there is no room for during a presidential campaign.
While it is not clear whether any criminal laws were broken as the facts surrounding the Trump campaign’s Russian contacts are largely unknown at this point, Tapper tried to find common ground with Sekulow over the June 9, 2016 meeting. “I understand you’re a lawyer but you’re also a man of faith,” Tapper said. “Isn’t it kind of important whether or not what Donald Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner did, isn’t it important, whether or not it’s legal, whether or not it’s wrong? Whether or not it’s ethical?”
“You’re conflating three perspectives here, Jake,” Sekulow responded. “The legality, was the meeting and what took place legal or not? Almost every legal expert says it’s not illegal.”
“Then you’re trying to put a moral and ethical aspect to it and it’s easy to do that in 20/20 hindsight but not when you’re in the middle of a campaign,” the Trump lawyer added.
“I’m not a campaign lawyer and I wasn’t a campaign lawyer as the meetings were taking place. Everybody looking backwards and saying would’ve, should’ve, could’ve. But to go back a year later and say this is what should have happened when the meeting was 20 minutes and a series of meetings that took place days and days for months, I don’t think that’s fair to Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner or Paul Manafort for that matter.”
“Not with the governments of hostile foreign powers, Jay. That’s not normal,” Tapper shot back.”You could talk about opposition research all you want, but it’s a Russian government attorney. That’s what this was billed at. With high-level intelligence on Hillary Clinton? For all Don Jr. knew, from the FSB, successor to the KGB. That was coming from human intelligence. He had no idea where it was coming from, normal oppo is legally obtained.”
During an interview with Chris Wallace, Sekulow tried the same tact only to similarly be confronted with the fact that the meeting involved Russian operatives. Watch that interview here.
Watch the interview with Jake Tapper via CNN below: