Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) appeared to join Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in criticizing Donald Trump Jr.’s pre-election meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya -- a Russian lawyer -- who he was told had incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

On Tuesday night, Gowdy said on Fox News, When Gowdy was asked directly whether it was illegal for Trump Jr to speak with Veselnitskaya, he dodged the question and said that it is up to special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, to look into any allegations. Calling it a “medical issue,” Gowdy said he is troubled by the “amnesia” of persons in President Donald Trump’s “orbit”. He added, “Someone close to the president needs to get everyone connected with that campaign in a room and say: From the time you saw ‘Doctor Zhivago’ until the moment you drank vodka with a guy named Boris, you list every single one of those, and we are going to turn them over to the special counsel. Because this drip, drip, drip, it is undermining the credibility of this administration.”

Veselnitskaya, a lawyer with alleged ties to the Russian government and to the Democratic Party, met with the Trump Jr, Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner in June 2016. Brokered by Robert Goldstone, a British music publicist, the meeting was billed by Goldstone to offer an opportunity to meet a “Russian government lawyer” with “very high level and sensitive information” about Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr released several emails associated with the meeting, in which he tells Goldstone, “Thanks Rob, I appreciate that,” adding, “If it’s what you say I love it, especially later in the summer.” When he spoke to show host Sean Hannity on Fox News, Trump Jr. said that in retrospect, he would have “probably done things a little differently” in agreeing to the meeting. President Trump has since tweeted his support of his son, writing that he is “innocent.”

Gowdy said that he is concerned about the “purported reason, as opposed to the real reason” for meeting with Veselnitskaya. “The purported reason was for an agent of a foreign power to try and influence our election. That concerns me more than someone trying to sit down with perhaps someone of an incoming administration to lobby for a policy change. I’m much more concerned about the actual words in the email than the real reason she wanted to meet.”



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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