PHOENIX — A Fox News host said Wednesday that Donald Trump Jr.’s decision to meet with a Russian lawyer who supposedly had negative information about then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was an amateur move.
“I’m so frustrated by all of it because it’s just so dumb,” Meghan McCain told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos. “It is a rookie, rookie, rookie mistake.”
McCain said Trump Jr.’s decision to release emails about the meeting puts the incident on a different level compared to other errors made by President Donald Trump’s administration.
“I think it’s different than any one previously is because there’s no more ambiguity,” she said. “We have all of this in writing.”
Trump Jr. defended his actions in an interview with Fox News earlier this week, blaming the decision to take the meeting on the “million miles per hour” pace of a presidential campaign and his suspicion that the lawyer might have information about “underreported scandals involving Clinton. Trump Jr. said the meeting “really went nowhere” and that he never told his father about it because there was “nothing to tell.”
As someone who grew up around politics — her father, John, is Arizona’s senior senator — McCain said she knew she was not to speak to foreign entities, especially Russia, which has been a longtime rival of the United States.
“The fact that it’s Russia and it’s a very complicated and corrupt country makes it that much worse,” she said.
McCain also said the White House’s communications staff should have done a much better job of handling the entire incident.
“Any rookie person who has spent any time around politics, A), never would have done that and, B), certainly wouldn’t have put it in writing,” she said.
McCain said she was concerned the hubbub around Trump Jr.’s meeting could affect Washington, D.C. politics for weeks.
“I think this is very troublesome,” she said. “I think this is very bad and I think that any hope of any kind of conservative agenda getting through in the next few weeks is absolutely dead in the water.”
While she was upset by the meeting, McCain stopped far short of labeling Trump Jr. a traitor, as some Democrats have.
“We would have to be at war with Russia, if you know what the legal definition of treason is,” she said.
She also said she thought there was more to the email exchange released by Trump Jr. and that she would like to see it.
McCain called for some changes to the Republican Party’s stance on Trump, which she said has favored legality over ethics as of late.
“The standard I don’t like right now is, so if it is not technically illegal but it’s unethical, we as Republicans are still OK with this,” she said.
Some have wondered if Trump could move to fire special investigator Robert Mueller, who was brought in to investigate possible Russian interference in the 2016 election, to protect his son. McCain said that would be a terrible idea.
“If President Trump does that, all hell will break loose,” she said. “There will be chaos everywhere. It was already so controversial when he fired James Comey.
“It would look so politically motivated if he ended up doing that. I don’t think he even has the political bandwidth to do that.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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