Jay Sekulow, a member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, defended Trump’s advisers who met with a Russian attorney in 2016 during the presidential campaign. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and son-in-law Jared Kushner, participated in a meeting that Democrats have since pounced upon, demanding Congressional hearings. On one of two Sunday talk shows, Sekulow denied that the meeting was “against the law.” Sekulow told Chris Matthews on “Fox News Sunday,” “There was nothing in that meeting that is illegal, against the law.” He added, “The meeting, the discussion was not a violation of the law.”
News of Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian contact has complicated the several ongoing investigations into supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 general election. Dismissing concerns over the role that Trump Jr’s meeting might have played, Sekulow said on Fox News, “Opposition research is a big part of the campaign.” As for his client, Sekulow said that President Trump’s statements “have been clear” that he had no connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin or other Russian officials in winning the White House race.
Sekulow on Sunday also blasted former FBI Director James Comey for leaking confidential memos of several private meetings he had with Trump. He said: “He leaked information for one purpose and one purpose only: to get a special counsel.”
On ABC, Sekulow was interviewed by White House reporter Jonathan Karl. Sekulow repeated that Trump Jr’s meeting with the Russian attorney was “not a violation of the law.” He also repeated that President Trump did not participate in the meeting nor was he aware of it.
Sekulow also faulted the federal government for apparently allowing the Russian attorney access to Donald Trump Jr. :
KARL: But do you accept what we heard from the president’s pick to run the FBI, that what should’ve happened there, you know, a situation where you have representatives of a foreign government offering assistance to ― in an election, that what should’ve happened is that the FBI should’ve been notified?
SEKULOW: 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. Number two, we can’t act like this is in a vacuum. We know for a fact, as was reported extensively in an investigative journalist piece by Politico, that the Ukrainians were in direct contact (ph) with DNC officials and traded information back and forth.”
Sekulow repeated that former FBI director Comey’s purpose in leaking a confidential memo was to get a special counsel involved in the Russia probe. He said that Comey took notes of his conversations with President Trump and put them “on a government computer in his government vehicle, put them in his government desk. He gets fired by the president of the United States. He was terminated as the FBI director, which James Comey acknowledged the president had the right to do.” Comey leaked the documents to be handed over to The New York Times, and later told the Senate under oath that he ”hoped to get a special counsel, which he did.”
Near the conclusion of the interview, Sekulow said that Trump remains willing to speak under oath to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Sekulow said:
SEKULOW: Look, the president was very clear that if it came to that, and I don’t think it will, but if it came to that, he would do that. The president was very clear on that.
But, again, there has to -- you know, when you look at what’s going on here, and I look at this of course as the lawyer from the legal perspective, and I keep going back to this fundamental issue. What is the legal statute that has been violated here, or alleged to be violated here? What would be, in other words, subject of that questioning under oath?
So here’s -- here’s what I would say. The president’s been very clear and very direct on his statements. There’s nothing I can add to those other than saying this. The nature upon which this whole issue developed over the last several months raises serious questions, as a lawyer. And any lawyer that was looking at this issue would say there’s a lot questions that have to be answered here on how this started, where it went, where it’s going.