Anderson Cooper Can Only Laugh at the Trump Administration's Defenders at This Point
Before he tweeted out his email chain with lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Donald Trump Jr. offered a dizzying explanation for his meeting with the Kremlin-connected lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign. On Monday, CNN's Anderson Cooper held a panel discussion with communication members from both major party presidential campaigns, as well as a former conservative U.S. attorney to dissect the latest revelations.
The general consensus? It doesn't look good, regardless of whether or not Don Jr. received the damaging information on Hillary Clinton he was promised.
"Donald Trump [Jr.] accepted a meeting; no one forced him to show up at the meeting," noted Brian Fallon, Clinton's former campaign press secretary. "He showed up at the meeting and asked for the information that he was told might be of benefit."
"We do not know who solicited what," Cooper cut in. Since "this is all from a statement of Donald Trump Jr."
"Right, right," former Trump campaign communications director Jason Miller agreed. "So, Brian can't say that [Trump Jr.] was soliciting and therefore potentially breaking some law, when he wasn't soliciting. I mean, none of us were there—"
"Why was he at the meeting?" Fallon asked incredulously. "By his own admission in this statement, he said he showed up at this at the meeting because he thought that the lawyer was going to provide some information that could benefit the Trump campaign."
The New York Times first reported the motivation behind the meeting on Sunday. But Miller insisted that the quality of Veselnitskaya's findings, "vague" and "ambiguous" according to the president's son, proved Trump Jr.'s innocence.
"There was nothing," he told Fallon.
"You're sidestepping the point, Jason," Fallon shot back. "[He] showed up because he thought he'd get something. He showed up because he'd been promised dirt on Hillary Clinton and he showed up in order to be in receipt of it. And not only that, he brought his brother-in-law and the chairman of the campaign because he thought the information might be so helpful."