CNN host Jake Tapper grilled Jay Sekulow, an attorney for President Donald Trump, on his show Sunday over last week’s biggest political news story: the meeting Donald Trump Jr. had with a Russian lawyer last June at Trump Tower.
Tapper wasted no time getting down to business. As soon as the interview began, he came out of the gate reading comments that Charles Krauthammer recently made when discussing Trump Jr.’s controversial meeting, where he labeled it “bungled collusion.”
“Are you willing to acknowledge that regardless of the legality here that this was wrong and a violation of civic honor?” Tapper asked.
Sekulow dodged the question and instead tried to turn the focus to unsavory connections that Hillary Clinton’s campaign allegedly had with the Ukrainian government. But Tapper was having none of it.
“The moment that there’s an FBI investigation or Senate and House Intelligence Committee investigation into Ukraine and the DNC and the Clinton campaign I’m happy to discuss it,” Tapper interrupted. “But that’s not what’s going on right now.”
“Isn’t that interesting that there isn’t one?” Sekulow shot back.
“There isn’t one because nobody from the Ukrainian government met with anybody from the Clinton campaign,” Tapper responded matter-of-factly.
The “State of the Union” host then went on to press Sekulow on his original question. Aside from the legality of the meeting, Tapper wanted to know if it was morally wrong or unethical for Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort to meet with the Russian lawyer.
Sekulow responded by essentially claiming that it’s unfair to, in hindsight, litigate what decisions Trump Jr. and other key Trump campaign members should have made.
“There’s a lot of meetings and a lot of discussions about opposition research coming on all sides…” Sekulow said.
“Not with the governments of hostile foreign powers, Jay. That’s not normal,” Tapper followed up. “You can talk about opposition research all you want, but a Russian government attorney…with high-level intelligence on Hillary Clinton…it’s not normal oppo. Normal oppo is legally obtained.”
Sekulow then tried to drive the conversation back to Ukraine.
“We’re acting like this is some kind of one off thing that never happens in campaigns and you just gave the evidence of exactly what took place there,” Sekulow exclaimed.
“Nobody from the Ukrainian government met with the Clinton campaign again, as I said,” Tapper shot back.
“Again, I know you want to change the subject,” Tapper added, before driving the conversation back to Russia and how many meetings with Russian individuals Trump Jr. may have had during the course of his father’s presidential campaign.