Democrats are “trying to make something out of nothing” from the transcript released by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary of Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony on his Trump Tower meeting with Russian lobbyists, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Wednesday on Fox News’”America’s Newsroom.”
Trump Jr., White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, met with Russian lobbyists and other participants at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016.
Although Trump Jr. initially said that the meeting concerned the Magnitsky Act and Russian adoptions, he later admitted that he attended the meeting because he was told Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya knew of dirt on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Special counsel Robert Mueller took a keen interest in this meting as part of his probe into allegations of collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russia. The Senate judiciary panel released thousands of pages of transcripts of interviews and notes from eight people who attended the Trump Tower meeting.
But King, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, concluded that “really nothing at all happened” in that meeting because nothing “of substance” appears to have been discussed.
“You know, Don Jr. did testify before the” House Intelligence Committee, as well, King said. “And I can tell you there was absolutely nothing there.”
British publicist Rob Goldstone asked Trump Jr. to attend the meeting, claiming that a Russian prosecutor had “offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”
Trump Jr. replied to the email, saying, “If it’s what you say I love it.”
“Goldstone was taking selfies of himself. They walked into Trump Tower. If this was a secret Russian operation, you don’t parade yourself like that,” King said. “The meeting lasted about 20 minutes. There is no evidence at all that anything of substance was discussed. They brought up the adoption issue. That was it. The meeting was over.”
“And again, it was a 20-minute — really nothing at all happened,” King continued. “And to me, this is the Democrats trying to make something out of nothing.”
Trump Jr. testified that his “I love it” email reply to Goldstone was “simply a colloquial way of saying that I appreciated Rob’s gesture.” He insisted that he was “skeptical” of the meeting from the beginning and noted that the skepticism “was justified” because he received “no meaningful information” from the Russian lawyer.
The president’s son admitted that he didn’t know whether or not his father had anything to do with Trump Jr.’s initial statement given to the media after after outlets learned of the Trump Tower meeting.
“I never spoke to my father about it,” Trump Jr. said, noting, “I chose not to because I didn’t want to bring him into something that he had nothing to do with.”
If Trump did have anything to do with his son’s statement, Trump Jr. said he “may have commented through Hope Hicks,” the former White House communications director at the time. Hicks reportedly asked Trump Jr. if he wanted to involve his father in crafting the statement.
“I appreciate the opportunity to have assisted the Judiciary committee in its inquiry. The public can now see that for over five hours I answered every question asked an was candid and forthright with the committee,” Trump Jr. said in a statement Wednesday.