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00:00:01
>> President Trump returns to a new revelation in the Russia scandal, reports that a Russian-American lobbyist was in the room when Trump's son sought out dirt on Hillary Clinton in 2016. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington, here with White House correspondent, Jim Oliphant. Now that we know there was another person in the room back in June 2016 when Donald Trump Jr was seeking Russian dirt on rival Hillary Clinton, it raises new questions about whether people in Trump's orbit are being fully transparent, as they claim to be, about their contacts with the Kremlin.
00:00:31
It seems to me Jim, this isn't the first time this has happened.>> No we've seen this many times before, right, Andy, with Michael Flynn, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with Special Advisor, Jared Kushner. All of them have had to go back and sort of restate what happened in terms of their contacts with Russia.
00:00:47
>> And their basic defense is changing, it used to be there is no story here, we never talked with Russians, we've never even heard of the country. To now they're saying, well things were so loosey goosey, we didn't know what was going on, we weren't keeping track of paperwork, we weren't even talking to each other.
00:01:00
It's basically an incompetence defense, which really is not the most reassuring way to present yourself to the public, right?>> There's a reason why candidates who have never been in the political arena hire professionals.>> In that meeting, there was actually one seasoned political professional, Paul Manafort, who was the campaign manager at the time.
00:01:17
Remember, he was brought in to be the grown up to impose some discipline. Of course, he left the campaign a few months later when his ties to Russia came under scrutiny.>> And it's possible that Manafort's own ties to Russia and Ukraine gave him a bit of a blind spot about whether this meeting was appropriate.
00:01:34
But to get to the point, that somebody needed to keep Don Jr. and Jared Kushner out of this meeting and nobody did it. When the mood in the White House this week may be a deeper shade of gray, it's another week where the White House has looked torn apart by in-fighting and a lack of cohesive messaging.
00:01:51
It's very hard in a climate of fear, suspicion, and frankly paranoia. They don't really have a coherent strategy for pushing back against these Russia allegations that seem to come every single day.>> Meanwhile, they're not advancing their agenda, all this defensiveness means they're not spending time banging the drum on healthcare.
00:02:08
>> And in the middle of it all is Jared Kushner, remember he's an active part of this administration, unlike Don Jr., unlike Mike Flynn. And so you have the situation where you have a key advisor to the President, perhaps compromised, and people around him don't really know what the full story is.
00:02:24
>> All these individuals also have their own lawyers and these lawyers are working for the interest of their clients, which could be at cross purposes. This story followed the President to France, it's following him back to the United States. He's not in Washington this weekend, he's up at his golf resort in New Jersey, but no matter where he goes, this Russia story is following him.