White House says Trump acted 'as any father would' in dictating Donald Trump Jr's misleading statement on Russia meeting

President Donald Trump acted "as any father would" in dictating the initial misleading statement that Donald Trump Jr. used when confronted by The New York Times earlier this month about his June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday.

Sanders' statement followed a bombshell Washington Post report on Monday that outlined how Trump "personally dictated" the initial misleading statement to the Times, which noted that those in the meeting "primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children" and that the subject of conversation was "not a campaign issue at the time."

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June 7: The 2016 primary season essentially concludes, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the presumptive party nominees
June 9: Donald Trump Jr. — along with Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort — meets with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
June 9: Trump tweets about Clinton's missing 33,000 emails
July 18: Washington Post reports, on the first day of the GOP convention, that the Trump campaign changed the Republican platform to ensure that it didn't call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces
July 21: GOP convention concludes with Trump giving his speech accepting the Republican nomination
July 22: WikiLeaks releases stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee
July 25: Democratic convention begins
July 27: In final news conference of his 2016 campaign, Trump asks Russia: "If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing"
August 4: Obama CIA Director John Brennan confronts his Russian counterpart about Russia's interference. "[I] told him if you go down this road, it's going to have serious consequences, not only for the bilateral relationship, but for our ability to work with Russia on any issue, because it is an assault on our democracy," Brennan said on "Meet the Press" yesterday.
October 4: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange says his organization will publish emails related to the 2016 campaign
October 7: WikiLeaks begins releasing Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta's emails
October 7: Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence release a statement directly saying that Russia is interfering in the 2016 election
October 31: "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove," Trump says on the campaign trail
November 4: "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks," Trump says from Ohio.

The Trump Jr. statement made no mention of what would eventually be revealed days later with the publication of Trump Jr.'s emails with a music publicist who helped arrange the meeting. In those emails, it became clear that Trump Jr. was fully expecting to be presented with damaging information related to soon-to-be Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton that originated from the Russian government.

"The statement that Don Jr. issued is true," Sanders said during Tuesday's press briefing. "There's no inaccuracy in the statement. The president weighed in as any father would, based on the limited information he had, this is all discussion of frankly no consequence. There was no follow up. It was disclosed to the proper parties, which is how the New York Times found out about it to begin with."

The Post reported that when news of the meeting was first revealed to Trump and his advisers aboard Air Force One as the president returned from the G-20 summit in Germany, his advisers agreed that a truthful statement about the meeting was needed. But Trump reportedly disagreed, and the misleading statement, which was later amended multiple times as more information about the meeting came out, was released.

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Politicians, pundits sound off on Donald Trump Jr.'s emails
If this isn't treasonous, I'm not sure what is. https://t.co/QrBaaf4psM
Is this Hillary Collusion?? https://t.co/JMX4kqIbt7
Quick reminder: something doesn't have to be illegal for it to be foolish, wrong and un-American. @DonaldJTrumpJr https://t.co/nnWxmryCKV
.@LindseyGrahamSC on CNN: I know Don Jr and Jared Kushner are new to politics but this is going to require a lot of questions to be answered
.@realDonaldTrump’s son & aides met w/ Russian agent to influence our election. That is a fact.… https://t.co/Enf0NK8AGj
.@MerriamWebster definition of #collusion: secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful p… https://t.co/Rqo26PD5Xw
Liberal media in a frenzy because Donald Trump Jr released all his emails. Should've just deleted them. We know that's fine with them!
What seems interesting: Email tells Trump Jr. the effort is part of Russia government's efforts to help Trump. He doesn't ask questions.
"On its face, this email chain is proof of a willingness expressed by @DonaldJTrumpJr to collude with Russia" --@JakeTapper on @CNN
So...this is it right?
I consider my friend @DonaldJTrumpJr a honorable man in every sense of the word . 🇺🇸✌️
Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman says Trump Jr. emails are "almost a smoking cannon." Told me "there's no question this is treason."
.@matthewamiller: I don't know how anyone can come out and defend what is in these emails, whether republican or democrat #AMR
Graham: Trump Jr. "definitely has to testify" https://t.co/SzwEwq9LLE
Sen. Hatch says the Don Jr. emails are not "relevant" and "all this stuff about Trump's sons and daughter -- it's a bunch of bunk."
Statement from @VPPressSec on Donald Trump Jr meeting and @VP's knowledge https://t.co/iYiyoWfHRx
There's NO way Don Jr, Jared & Paul Manafort met w/ the Russian Gov't operative without advising Donald Trump in advance. HE'S GUILTY, TOO!
Tapper: "This can't be dismissed as people out to get Donald J. Trump Jr. or fake news. This is evidence of willing… https://t.co/oSaRNQBtLb
So, I just talked to Mark Warner: https://t.co/eXm4ECI3OW
Sen @ChrisMurphyCT on Don Jr: "For a long time we saw a lot of smoke but no fire, you're seeing the fire today."

Trump said he learned of the meeting in the immediate days before the Times' report in early July, with previous reporting suggesting that Trump signed off on the statement. But Trump's direct involvement in the statement's crafting was described to the Post by one Trump adviser as "unnecessary."

"Now someone can claim he's the one who attempted to mislead," the adviser said. "Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn't want you to say the whole truth."

At the time, one of Trump's top lawyers in the Russia investigation, Jay Sekulow, told media outlets that the president "didn't sign off on anything" and "wasn't involved" in drafting the first Trump Jr. statement.

That meeting, which was also attended by then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a White House senior adviser, has caught the attention of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller, who is investigating whether members of the Trump team colluded with Russia during the course of the 2016 presidential election, sent the White House a request asking officials to preserve any documents related to that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

As Business Insider's Natasha Bertrand noted Tuesday, the latest revelations, which were essentially confirmed by Sanders' Tuesday statements, could pose additional legal problems for the White House.

Watch Sanders' comments:

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