Paul Ryan dodges on questions about Donald Trump Jr.
Posted July 12
House Speaker Paul Ryan dodged a question Wednesday related to Donald Trump Jr.'s emails revealing details of a meeting with a Russian lawyer who purportedly offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton, but the Wisconsin Republican said, "it is absolutely unacceptable that Russia -- or any other country" to "meddle in our elections. Period."
"We have a special counsel that is doing investigation over at the Justice Department, we have an investigation here in the House, we have an investigation in the Senate," Ryan told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference when asked about President Donald Trump's eldest son. "I think it is very important that these professionals and these committees do their job so we can get to the bottom of all of this."
Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian interference with the US election, as are at least four congressional committees.
Pressed whether he would accept a meeting with someone from a foreign government offering sensitive information about political opponents, Ryan deflected twice, saying, "look, I am not going to go into hypotheticals, only because I think it's important that we get into the bottom of all of this."
The speaker stressed that he supported the appointment of Mueller to serve as the special counsel and said it's important that Muller and the congressional probes "do their jobs and follow these leads wherever they may lay, wherever they may go, and follow the facts."
According to a GOP source who attended the weekly House Republican conference meeting, no one raised the issue of Trump Jr.'s emails or details about the meeting at Trump Tower with the Russia representatives.
Trump Jr. on Tuesday morning tweeted a series of emails between himself and Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who contacted Trump Jr. and told him about an opportunity to receive potentially damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign. The emails led to a June 9, 2016 meeting between Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who was Trump's campaign chief at the time of the meeting.
"In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently," Trump Jr. told Fox News' Sean Hannity during an interview Tuesday evening, adding that the meeting happened before Russian involvement became a major story during the campaign season.