Trump helped with son's statement but didn't dictate, White House says

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 2, 2017

Republicans on Sunday urged President Donald Trump's new chief of staff John Kelly to rein in the chaos within the White House on Monday but said the retired Marine Corps general will be challenged to assert control.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Kelly "has the full authority to carry out business as he sees fit" and that all White House staffers will report to him, including powerful aides such as Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

"I think he will bring some order and discipline to the West Wing", said Republican Senator Susan Collins and Trump critic on NBC's "Meet the Press".

The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump himself dictated the statement.

The statement said the meeting was about the adoption of Russian children, but revelations showed he expected damaging material on Hillary Clinton.

He acknowledged four meetings with Russians during and after Trump's victorious White House bid and insisted that he had "nothing to hide".

Trump Jr later sent shockwaves through Washington by releasing a series of emails that detailed how he had attended the meeting after being promised "very high level and sensitive information" that was "part of Russian Federation and its government's support for Mr Trump". The statement, which was attributed to Donald Trump Jr., was criticized as misleading and left out key facts about the meeting. But "Trump, soaking in several days of negative news coverage about his administration in turmoil, began to realize the comments were a bigger deal than he'd initially believed".

"Apart from being of no outcome, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate and not pertinent", he said in a statement to CNN after the Post published its story on Monday. The statement was crafted aboard Air Force One as Trump returned from the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, The Post said.

Sekulow gave a similar, initial response to CNN's Jake Tapper when asked about whether the President signed off on the statement, saying "that is not true".

This latest report, while far from a silver bullet for the Trump presidency, is a sneakily risky one for Trump himself. Also unclear is whether a new chief of staff will have any influence over the president's social media histrionics. "I'm sure his lawyer was involved, that's how you do it", he said. But Monday's report describing direct involvement by Trump in the response could attract more scrutiny to Trump amid investigations by Congress and the FBI into Russian election interference. The president has no such plans, she said.

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