Washington – This week was supposed to be all about health care, but that has taken a back seat to revelations that Donald Trump Jr. sought damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russians, especially after the president’s son released a string of explosive emails Monday.
Connecticut’s senators joined most Democrats Tuesday in condemning Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian attorney with connections to the Moscow government who offered to give him incriminating information about Clinton.
On Tuesday morning, Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted that the GOP health care bill should be a higher priority than the “Russia/Trump Jr. story” this week. After Trump Jr. released his string of emails about the meeting, however, Murphy tweeted “Oh my. I’m moving Russia/Trump Jr. up a notch (on the list of priorities).”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, said, “These Russia revelations are a series of exploding bombshells and eventually they are likely to produce criminal charges.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other congressional Republicans deflected questions from reporters about the issue. “The investigation in the Senate is being handled by the Intelligence Committee, and I’m sure they’ll get to the bottom of whatever happened,” McConnell said.
Other Republicans downplayed the revelations, or pointed out that Donald Trump Jr. is not the president. “Donald Jr. is very dedicated to his father, but you know he’s not part of the administration,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah.
The story about Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer was first reported by the New York Times. In an attempt to try to get ahead of a story, the president’s son released a string of emails on Monday “in order to be totally transparent” about the matter.
That may have backfired.
The emails show that on June 3, 2016, one of his father’s former Russian business partners had been contacted by a senior Russian government official and was offering to provide the Trump campaign with damaging information on Clinton.
The documents “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” read the email. “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Trump Jr. replied within minutes: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
At a White House briefing on Tuesday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy press secretary, read a statement from President Trump in which he defended his son. “My son is a high-quality person, and I applaud his transparency,” the president said.