Seth Meyers: Donald Trump’s Asia Trip Mostly Spent Cozying Up To Authoritarian Strongmen

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Trump’s 12-day trip to Asia was spent mostly cozying up to authoritarian strongmen while acting increasingly like one himself, Late Night host Seth Meyers observed Tuesday.
The trip itself was mostly unremarkable except that one time he taunted a nuclear-armed nation on Twitter and bro-ed out with Vladimir Putin which, an exhausted Meyers joked, was like nine news stories ago.
While Trump has been out of the country it also came to light that Don Jr. had secret…

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Trump ‘Certainly Didn’t Dictate’ Don Jr. Statement on Russia Meeting

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White House Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pushed back on a Washington Post report that suggests President Trump helped craft a misleading statement on his son Don Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign.

Citing multiple people with knowledge of the situation, the Post said Trump personally decided to have the statement say that Trump Jr. had met with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to discuss Russian adoption instead of damaging information about his then-rival Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

“He certainly didn’t dictate,” Sanders told reporters during a press corps briefing Tuesday. “He weighed in, offered suggestions — as any father would do.”

Also Read: Donald Trump Jr: Dad Didn’t Know About ‘Nothing’ Meeting With Russian Lawyer

The extent of the president’s personal involvement in his son’s response could could place him and his aides in legal jeopardy.

“The statement that Don Jr. issued is true,” Sanders said. “There is no inaccuracy in that statement. The president weighed in, as any father would, based on the limited information that he had. This is all discussion, frankly, of no consequence.”

Pressed on what exactly the president know about the meeting, Sanders went into a tirade against the press for “fueling a false narrative” about Russia.

“Everybody wants to try to make this some story about misleading. The only thing I see misleading is a year’s worth of stories that have been fueling a false narrative about this Russian collusion.”

Sanders then berated the press for not focusing on the Clintons’ interaction with the Kremlin.

Also Read: Donald Trump Jr Received Email Telling Him of Russian Effort to Aid Campaign (Report)

“Bill Clinton was paid half a million dollars to give a speech to a Russian bank and was personally thanked by Putin for it,” she said.

Sanders also addressed a recent NPR story on a recent lawsuit which claimed the White House — and possibly President Trump — may have been involved in a discredited Fox News story about the killing of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer, last summer.

“The president had no knowledge of this story and it’s completely untrue that he or the White House had any involvement in the story,” Sanders said Tuesday.

Also Read: Sean Spicer Says Trump, White House Had ‘Nothing’ to Do With Fox’s Seth Rich Story

Asked whether the meeting between the White House and the parties involved with the story was in any way inappropriate, Sanders said no.

“It doesn’t bother me that the press secretary would take a meeting with somebody involved in the media about a story,” she went on to say. “You guys come to us with stories all day.”

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Trump’s OK, False Fox News Story, Seth Rich Murder Misdirect: 6 Juicy Accusations in New Lawsuit

Trump Approved Fabricated Fox News Story on Seth Rich Murder, Lawsuit Says

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Donald Trump Blasted by Ethics Experts: Business Conflicts Plan ‘Falls Short in Every Respect’

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President-Elect Donald Trump’s plan to separate himself from his many business interests “falls short in every respect,” according to two ethics lawyers who served under George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

“Mr. Trump did not make a clean break with his business ownership interests as his predecessors for four decades have done; did not establish a blind trust or the equivalent as bipartisan experts and OGE called for; entrusted trust responsibility in his family and a current employee, rather than in an independent trustee; did not screen all ‘emoluments … of any kind whatever,’ as required by the Constitution, but only some revenues, and only from his hotels; and offered an inadequate and scantily-detailed ethics wall,” Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, who served for Bush and Obama, respectively, told TheWrap in an email on Wednesday.

“Tragically, the Trump plan to deal with his business conflicts announced today falls short in every respect,” they concluded.

Also Read: Donald Trump Press Conference: 11 Wildest, Most Memorable Quotes

“Mr. Trump’s ill-advised course will precipitate scandal and corruption,” Painter said. “I and many others will respond strongly in defense of ethics and our Constitution.”

During a press conference Wednesday at Trump Tower, the president-elect spent significant time responding to jaw-dropping allegations in a BuzzFeed news report and largely avoided questions about the main subject of his first press conference since the election: how he’ll avoid business conflicts of interest as president.

Reading a prepared statement, Trump attorney Sheri Dillon said that Trump will be fully isolated “from the management of the company.” The president-elect will turn over day-to-day operations of the private Trump Organization to his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, she said, adding that Trump will not divest or form a blind trust to disentangle himself from potential conflicts of interest.

Also Read: Trump Defends Nazi Comparison, Attacks CNN and BuzzFeed as ‘Fake News,’ ‘Disgrace’

“President-elect Trump should not be expected to destroy the company he built,” she said.

But ethics experts say Trump’s answer to his many conflicts of interest is “a failure on all those points.” At issue: Trump will not create what’s called a “blind trust” or divest himself of his business and stock holdings, the only solution that ethics experts say could eliminate any risk that the president’s assets could lead to corruption — or the appearance of corruption.

“His sons are involved in the trust,” Lisa Gilbert, an ethics expert at Public Citizen, an independent ethics watchdog, told TheWrap. “That is the opposite of creating a space where he will not know [about his business interests].”

Also Read: Donald Trump on ‘Golden Showers’ Claim: Nope, I’m a Germaphobe

Dillon also said Trump plans to give profits from any foreign governments spending in his hotels to the U.S. Treasury as part of the plan to avoid conflicts of interest.

But ethics experts insist that too is tricky, as it would be hard to determine exactly which of those profits do or do not constitute a conflict of interest.

“This does not address the emoluments clause concerns,” Gilbert said, referring to the clause in the U.S. Constitution that prohibits members of the federal government from receiving gifts.

“The problem is not that he has money,” Gilbert said. “The problem is that if he is approached by those business interests while president, he might be inclined to put their interests above those of the American people.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Law Firm Representing Trump on Business Conflicts Won ‘Russia Firm of the Year’ in 2016

Donald Trump Press Conference: 11 Wildest, Most Memorable Quotes

CNN Denies Donald Trump’s ‘Fake News’ Allegations: ‘We Are Fully Confident in Our Reporting’

Trump Defends Nazi Comparison, Attacks CNN and BuzzFeed as ‘Fake News,’ ‘Disgrace’