As the Russian Saga now involving Don Trump Jr. continues to dominate the White House Press Briefings, the best course of action for President Trump would be to uphold transparency and call for a press conference.
The off-camera press briefing on Tuesday, July 11th, did not bring any new insights into the latest developments on the Russian story relating to the email exchange between Don Trump Jr. and his PR acquaintance Rob Goldstone, who had brokered the meeting with a Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
The press briefing was twenty minutes late and the members of the White House press corps were doing live pre-briefing hits. Jim Acosta of CNN criticized on-air the decision of Trump’s communication team to hold the briefing off-camera in the face of the emails released by Don Trump Jr. Acosta’s argument was that the President today did not have any public engagements on the schedule that the live briefing could divert the public from.
Before taking questions from the press corps, Sean Spicer’s Deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders took a moment to acknowledge the tragic accident in which 16 servicemen and women lost their lives yesterday in a crash of a Marine Corps transport plane in Mississippi. After that, the press corps was interested in one issue only: Don Trump Jr.’s emails and his meeting with the Russian lawyer.
President Trump: “My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency”.
Question time in the Briefing Room was kicked off by Kevin Corke of Fox News setting the tone for the rest of the day by asking at what point “did the President discuss with Donald Trump, Jr. that meeting?”
On that, Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly issued the ready-made statement from President Trump: “My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency.”
Beyond that, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was determined that she didn’t have anything else to add and that for any related questions to Don Jr.’s involvement in opposition research with Russia we should consult the outside council.
The White House who just yesterday was stating that their position is that “no one within the Trump campaign colluded in order to influence the election”, today has shut the doors for any further questioning on the issue. The only additional insight we were able to get was the President’s general reaction to the story with Don Trump Jr.
“The President is, I would say, frustrated with the process of the fact that this continues to be an issue. And he would love for us to be focused on things like Justin mentioned, the economy, on health care, on tax reform, on infrastructure. And that’s the place that his mind is, and that’s what he’d like to be discussing,” concluded Sanders.
One possible explanation for why the White House suddenly is steering away from the comments about Don Jr. could be that this was legal instruction, given that the lawyers of Don Jr. are taking over. The other possible explanation could be that the White House does not want to comment on the doings of the private citizen, since Don Trump Jr. is not a holder of any political function in the U.S. government, unlike his younger sister Ivanka Trump.
The Democrats Are Gearing Up For Accusing Don Trump Jr. Of Treason
As the news on Don Trump Jr. is gaining more and more momentum in the American public, the Democrats are pressing hard on the issue: the end station, impeachment of the President. Tim Kain, a former candidate for VP and a senator of Virginia has set the tone for the motivation of the Democrats by stating that what was initially an investigation for collusion is now gearing toward “treason”.
Congressman Eric Swalweel on his Twitter also accused Don Trump Jr. of “betrayal of the US” stating: “Trump Jr. was willing to betray the US to cheat for his Dad’s campaign.”
Clearly, the ultimate goal of the Democrats is to impeach President Trump and remove him from the office.
However, if it is to be judged on what Alan Futerfas says on the culpability of Don Trump Jr. for meeting with the Russian lawyer regarding the opposition research against Hillary (all Natalia Veselnitskaya strongly denied for NBC) the Democrats won’t have much to hope for. The legal council of Don Trump Jr, Alan Futerfas, issued a statement yesterday for Buzzfeed stating that in his professional view “this is much ado about nothing.”
Will The Russian Saga Make The President Call For The Press Conference?
After the briefing, the press corps members were commenting that the best course of action for the President would be to uphold transparency and call for a press conference.
The president is traveling to Paris on Thursday where he will be having a bilateral meeting with the French President Emanuel Marcon. As it looks right now, the meeting is scheduled for up to 1 hour and 15 min and the extension of a meeting is not ruled out. The focus of the bilateral meeting will be Syria and counterterrorism, after which the two leaders are planning to hold a press conference.
Since the White House press pool, who is on rotation, will be traveling to Paris with the President, it can be expected that they will be raising questions related to the Russian saga, while the French press will likely be more focused on other issues. As the sun sets on the Capitol one thing is certain: the Russian saga will be rising up on the news cycle.