Jay Sekulow, a member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, on Sunday aired a new defense for Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer who promised him damaging information on Hillary Clinton: The Secret Service should not have “allowed these people in” to meet with Trump’s eldest son.
“I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in,” Sekulow said on ABC’s “This Week,” referring to Trump’s protection detail as the Republican candidate. “The President had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me.”
Trump Jr. arranged the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya after he was promised compromising information on Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian state effort to aid his father’s campaign.
Mason Brayman, a spokesman for the Secret Service, told Reuters in a statement that the Secret Service was not protecting Trump Jr. in June 2016 when he attended the meeting.
“Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time,” Brayman said.
Sekulow said he had not talked to Trump about whether the President would eliminate the possibility of pardoning associates caught up in the federal investigation into possible collusion between members of Trump’s campaign and Russian officials to interfere in the 2016 election.
“He can pardon individuals, of course,” he said. “But I have not had those conversations, so I couldn’t speculate on that.”
“The President has said over and over again, again this week, that this is a witch hunt. I want to get specific on this. Is he saying that the Mueller investigation is part of a witch hunt?” ABC’s Jon Karl asked, referring to Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the federal probe.
“Yes,” Sekulow replied. “Look how it started.”
He said Trump would be willing to testify under oath “if it came to that.”
“And I don’t think it will, but if it came to that, he would do that,” Sekulow said. “The President was very clear on that.”
On whether Trump would rule out pardoning key figures in Russia probe, Sekulow says, "I have not had the conversation with the president." pic.twitter.com/TapDsdo6yo
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 16, 2017
This post has been updated.