Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper questioned Jay Sekulow, a member of President Donald Trump‘s legal team over the meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and a Russian attorney.
At one point, Tapper mentioned Sekulow was “a man of faith” when pushing him on those ethics.
Partial transcript as follows:
TAPPER: Are you willing to acknowledge this was wrong and a violation of civic honor?
SEKULOW: I deal with the law so that’s what — I’m the lawyer for the president and campaigns involve opposition research. and the situation with the e-mail exchange that was released by Donald Trump Jr. and what was described there is — look at it and compare it to, for instance, Ukrainians with the DNC and Clinton campaign.
TAPPER: The moment the FBI investigates or a Senate and House Intelligence committee investigations into Ukraine and theDNCc and the Clinton campaign, I’m happy to discuss it. But that’s not what’s going on right now.
SEKULOW: it’s interesting there isn’t one. but go ahead, Jake.
TAPPER: Because nobody from the Ukrainian government met with anybody from the Clinton campaign. moving on from that, you’re talking about the legality. I understand you’re a lawyer but you’re also a man of faith.
TAPPER: Isn’t it kind of important whether or not what Donald Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner did, isn’t it important, whether or not it’s legal, whether or not it’s wrong, whether or not it’s ethical?
SEKULOW: You’re conflating, Jake, three perspectives here. The legality: was the meeting and what took place legal or not? Almost every legal expert says it’s not illegal. Then you’re trying to put a moral/ethical aspect to t it’s easy to do that in 20/20 hindsight but not when you’re in the middle of a campaign. I’m not a campaign lawyer, I wasn’t a campaign lawyer. But meetings were taking place, as Donald Trump Jr. said 15, 20 minutes apart this one went even shorter. Everybody is looking backwards and saying would’ve, should’ve, could’ve. Donald Trump Jr said he would have done some things differently But to go back a year later and say this is what should have happened when the meeting was 20 minutes and a series of meetings that took place days and days for months, I don’t think that’s fair to Donald Trump jr., Jared Kushner or Manafort for that matter. No one was in a situation in that kind of campaigning. In the middle of a presidential election there are a lot of meetings and a lot of opposition research come in from all sides Republican, Democrat, Independent, that is the nature of the politics.
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