Tags: dick durbin | donald trump jr. | meeting | slow bleed

Sen. Durbin: Trump Jr. Meeting Becoming a 'Slow Bleed'

MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

By    |   Friday, 14 July 2017 01:19 PM

The growing story concerning Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian attorney shows that the "bake" rules in Washington, Sen. Dick Durbin said Friday.

"Basic rules in Washington, It's not the crime, it's the cover-up," the high-ranking Illinois Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, responding to the news that a former Soviet counterintelligence officer, now a lobbyist, had joined in the meeting, and that there was possibly a translator also present.

"When you make a disclosure, make it complete," Durbin urged. "We have a slow bleed, new information coming, out, discrediting some of the representations made by Donald Trump Jr. about this meeting."

Early Friday, NBC news reported the man, a former Soviet counterintelligence officer turned lobbyist, had accompanied the attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, last summer at Trump Tower, when she met with Trump Jr., the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

The man was identified at first only as a Russian-American lobbyist, and his name was not released. NBC's Hallie Jackson, reporting on the "Today" show, said the man has been suspected by some American officials of having "ongoing ties to Russian intelligence."

Soon after, Trump Jr.'s lawyer Alan Futerfas revealed that a sixth person also may have been in the meeting. Initially, Trump Jr. reported that only he, his associates, and Veselnitskaya were present.

The lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, confirmed with The Associated Press that he was present at the discussion, which had been pitched initially to Trump Jr. as part of a Russian government effort to help the Republican's White House campaign.

Akhmetshin has been reported to have ties to Russian intelligence agencies, but he denied ever working as an intelligence agent. He told the AP that he served in the Soviet military in a unit that was part of counterintelligence, but was never formally trained as a spy.

Durbin on Friday also discussed a Senate hearing this week for Christopher Wray, Trump's nominee for FBI director.

"I think he made a good representation of his position as a professional with a strong legal resume," commented the Democratic senator.

The veteran senator also discussed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to "finally" disclose the GOP healthcare reform plan, calling it "outrageous" that such a serious matter be moved on without careful study.

"This is a type of thing that should be carefully studied before we move forward on it," he said. "Instead, it's being done mainly in secret. Yes, there is a bipartisan appetite to tackle this issue, to put aside the tax cuts, the political rhetoric. Make our healthcare system stronger."

However, there are "Republicans of good will" holding back to see if McConnell's effort is successful, said Durbin, and if it's not, then he hopes "we can move forward together."

Durbin said he voted for the Affordable Care Act and still thinks that was the right thing to do, but admitted there are still changes that could be made.

"All of us agree we need to get together and find a way to make premiums affordable for the 6 percent of Americans who shop for health insurance in the marketplace," said Durbin.

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The growing story concerning Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian attorney shows that the "bake" rules in Washington, Sen. Dick Durbin said Friday.
dick durbin, donald trump jr., meeting, slow bleed
Friday, 14 July 2017 01:19 PM
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